Philippe Couillard wins in Roberval, Liberals surge into power

Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard wasn’t given an easy ride in his own riding of Roberval, but he has come out on top.

Liberal leader gets about 60 per cent of the popular vote in the Saguenay riding

"We are all Quebecers," Philippe Couillard said in his victory speech as the new Premier of Quebec. (CBC)

Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard has won his seat in Roberval and led his party to an election victory.

Tonight all of Quebec has won by giving itself a stable government,- Philippe Couillard, Liberal leader and Quebec premier-elect

"What a beautiful victory. What pride. Thank you, thank you to each and every one of you!" Couillard said during his victory speech to a packed room in Roberval. This was Couillard’s first race in his Saguenay-area home-riding.

"Tonight all of Quebec has won by giving itself a stable government," he said.

Couillard said he would be the premier for all Quebecers and unite the population.

"We are all Quebecers. We should all focus on what brings us together — what unites us makes us stronger. Let us say together with passion: Nous sommes tous fiers d'êtres Québécois ... My dear friends, the division is over. Reconciliation has arrived. From now on, let's all work together for the purpose of Quebec."

Economy and jobs

Throughout this campaign, Couillard focused on the economy, saying it’s time for the province to return to a period of prosperity.

Couillard has promised to create 250,000 jobs across Quebec and phase out the health tax if the Liberals govern. He also said a federalist government would encourage economic stability.

Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois accused Couillard of fearmongering throughout the campaign for hammering away at the sovereignty issue.

Language and corruption

Couillard took a hit in the middle of the campaign during the second French-language televised debate, where he addressed the language debate and defended bilingualism.

Couillard’s rivals also tried to highlight his connections with Arthur Porter, who is accused of being at the heart of a fraud scandal involving the $1.3-billion McGill University Health Centre superhospital project in Montreal.

Before the legislature was dissolved, Couillard, a Montreal-native, represented Outremont a seat he won in a byelection in December 2013.

Since 2003, Couillard has served as Quebec’s health minister for five years in Jean Charest’s government.

Couillard quit the National Assembly in 2008, but returned to politics in 2012 when he threw his hat in the ring to become the next party leader after Charest’s defeat.

The Liberals came into this campaign as the official opposition party, with 50 seats — a significant drop from the 66 seats they held after a 2008 majority government victory.

In this election, the party got about 41 per cent of the popular vote — up 10 per cent from 2012.