Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre welcomed Monday night’s provincial election results, saying a majority government will bring stability to Quebec.
Quebec’s Liberal Party secured a majority in the election by winning 70 seats out of a possible 125 in the National Assembly.
The election brought to an end 18 months of minority rule by the Parti Québécois, which came out of Monday's election with only 30 seats.
“Regardless of what party forms the government, the fact it’s a majority is a reason to rejoice,” Coderre said.
Coderre promised to give Liberal leader and Premier-designate Philippe Couillard a chance to settle in before pushing his objective of a new status for Montreal in its relations with the government of Quebec.
Such a status would give Montreal a degree of independence from the provincial government in matters of governance and economic and social development.
Talks with Couillard during the election campaign gave Coderre hope that the two leaders can reach an agreement on the new status for Montreal.
“The vision at the end, from my perspective and Mr. Couillard’s perspective, is that Montreal will have its status,” Coderre said.
Coderre did not celebrate the incumbent Parti Québécois’s defeat on Monday, though he had been a staunch opponent of its proposed secular ‘values’ charter, which would have banned the wearing of overt religious symbols by public service employees.
Despite the disagreement, he said PQ Leader Pauline Marois had put “real effort” into relations between Montreal and her government.
“We fully disagreed on the issue of the charter. End of story,” Coderre said.
He said the decisive Liberal majority on Monday night spelled the end of the charter saga, which has dominated headlines in the province since last summer.
“The people made a decision. A majority didn’t believe in it,” he said. “The fact they have 70 seats means something. The PQ said a vote for us is a vote for the charter.”
During the election, Coderre had also opposed another key PQ issue — a referendum on Quebec sovereignty. Coderre called talk of a referendum a distraction from the key issues of the economy and job creation.
“I said since the beginning that I didn’t want to hear anything about a referendum,” he said. “Now, for the next four years, we’re not going to have the charter nor a referendum.”