Québec Solidaire keeps its two seats, adds third

Québec Solidaire kept its two seats in the National Assembly in Monday's election and gained a third in the Montreal riding of Saint-Marie-Saint-Jacques.

Manon Massé declared winner in Saint-Marie-Saint-Jacques

Quebec Solidaire co-leader Francoise David waves after her victory speech in Montreal on Monday. (The Canadian Press)

Québec Solidaire kept its two seats in the National Assembly in Monday's election and gained a third in the Montreal riding of Saint-Marie-Saint-Jacques.

The party's co-spokesperson, Françoise David, held on to her seat in the Montreal riding of Gouin and Amir Khadir has won in the Montreal riding of Mercier that he's held since 2008.

Their colleague, Manon Massé, defeated Liberal Anna Klisko in a see-saw battle that saw fewer than 100 votes separating the two in Saint-Marie-Saint-Jacques.

Manon claimed 30.6 per cent of the popular vote while Klisko took 30.3 per cent.

David offers challenge to premier-designate Couillard

In her victory speech, David said a Liberal majority won with 41 per cent of the popular vote raises questions about Quebec's electoral system.

"The way elections are held here completely falsifies the results of elections. When will we have an electoral system that will be proportional so that everybody who votes feels like their vote is counted," she said.

She challenged Liberal leader and premier-designate Philippe Couillard to commit his party to defending Quebec's environment, its poor, its public health-care system and its culture.

"You are going to be faced by a left-wing opposition that is ecological, feminist, sovereigntist," she said. "We will always fight for social progress, the ecology, and the defence of [Quebec]."

High hopes

Québec Solidaire hit the campaign trail hoping to build on the seats held by David and Khadir.

Viewed as a fringe party on the far left of Quebec’s political spectrum when it emerged in 2006, Québec Solidaire won six per cent of the popular vote in the 2012 provincial election in which David won her seat in Gouin and Khadir was re-elected in Mercier.

They increased that share of the popular vote slightly in Monday's election to around seven per cent.

The party fielded 124 candidates in 2014 — exactly 50 per cent men and 50 per cent — all bearing a message of a greener, more just and independent Quebec.

Québec Solidaire had high hopes for David's co-spokesperson, Andrés Fontecilla, who is running in the Liberal stronghold of Laurier-Dorion, and party stalwart Manon Massé, who won in Montreal's Saint-Marie-Saint-Jacques riding.

Fontecilla lost to Liberal Gerry Sklavounos.

Taking on the PQ

Québec Solidaire spent the early part of the election fending off invitations to its members to join the ranks of the Parti Québécois, its chief rival.

David worked to parlay those invitations to Québec Solidaire’s advantage when the PQ announced media magnate Pierre Karl Péladeau as its candidate for Saint-Jérome.

David responded to the announcement with a harsh denouncement of Péladeau, whose company, Quebecor, implemented lengthy labour lockouts at a number of its Quebec newspapers.

"Never, never, will a Québec Solidaire MNA sit next to Pierre Karl Péladeau [in the National Assembly]," she said.

Québec Solidaire proceeded to portray itself as the true voice of left-leaning, sovereignty-supporting Quebecers, a move that led to speculation that the party could lure the labour vote away from the PQ.

The party's efforts to steal votes from the PQ won crucial support last week when Jean Dorion, a prominent advocate for Quebec's independence, urged like-minded voters to support Québec Solidaire or Option Nationale, another pro-independence party, instead of the PQ.