Quebec politicians congratulate Doug Ford, Ontario's next premier

Premier Philippe Couillard says he is looking forward to working with incoming Ontario premier Doug Ford and his newly elected Progressive Conservative government.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard says he is looking forward to working with Ford

Doug Ford's Progressive Conservatives won a majority share of the seats in Ontario's legislature Thursday night. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Quebec's premier says he is looking forward to working with incoming Ontario premier Doug Ford and his newly elected Progressive Conservative government.

On Thursday night, Ford captured 76 seats, securing a majority government and ending nearly 15 years of Liberal power in the province.

Outgoing premier Kathleen Wynne, whose party had a majority at Queen's Park prior to the election, was handily beaten in what was characterized as a stunning collapss.

The Liberals only managed to secure seven seats, losing official party status and prompting Wynne to step down as leader.

In a series of tweets, Philippe Couillard said it had been "a great pleasure" working with Wynne, who he called "a great Premier and a good friend."

Couillard later told reporters he was "very sad" about Wynne's loss because she has not only been a friend of his, but of Quebec.

"She is a woman of considerable quality, I would say," said Couillard. "She also brings forward values that are close to what Quebecers believe in."

Outgoing Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, right, and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, left, shake hands and kiss cheeks at the end a joint meeting of cabinet ministers in 2016. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Couillard looks ahead

The economies of Quebec and Ontario are intertwined, Couillard said.

Central Canada, Ontario and Quebec together, constitutes 70 per cent of Canada's economy, and "we have to maintain that influence," said Couillard. "Mr. Ford, with whom I spoke with earlier today, was entirely in agreement with me on this."

We may not agree on all the issues, but we have already an agreement on the importance of maintaining that close relationship, mainly for economic reasons.- Quebec Premier Philippe  Couillard

Couillard stressed that he will not let political differences between the Liberals and Conservatives get in the way of the two leaders working together.

"We may not agree on all the issues,obviously, but we have already an agreement on the importance of maintaining that close relationship mainly for economic reasons," he said.

Disagreements may come up in the future, he admitted, but that happens at all levels of government, and he will not let political differences weaken the relationship between the two provinces.

"We are each other's main commercial partners," Couillard said. "It wouldn't make any sense to weaken the relationship."

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard says despite their political differences, he plans to work with newly elected Ontario Premier Doug Ford on maintaining the longstanding relationship between the two provinces.

​​Big changes, says Legault

In a lighthearted message, Coalition Avenir Québec Leader François Legault reached out to two winners Thursday night.

"Big night! Big changes! Bravo to Doug Ford and Alexander Ovechkin!" he wrote, referring to the hockey player who, after years of early-round playoff exits, finally captured the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals Thursday night.

The result in Ontario may bode well for Legault, whose CAQ currently holds the third largest number of seats at the National Assembly. By the same token, it may be a sign of things to come for the Quebec Liberals.

Both Ford and Legault espouse more right-leaning beliefs, though Legault has been characterized as more of a centrist politician.

Both men have also been described as populists and compared to U.S. President Donald Trump by their political rivals.

Couillard remains confident about Quebec election

The latest polls in Quebec give Legault's CAQ the most support, narrowly edging out the governing Quebec Liberals.

Despite those polls, Couillard said Quebec Liberals will, come Quebec's general election on Oct. 1, have "the best team" and a "considerably renewed team."

Couillard told reporters that it is his duty to talk to the people, telling them not only what he has done but what he will do in the coming years. 

"There is a government that has proven that it is competent to manage the economy and the public finances," Couillard said. "More importantly, not only will we talk about our record but also what we are putting on the table for the next four years."

What Ontario's result means for Quebec

While there was a clear thirst for change in Ontario, the Liberals could still win in Quebec, said Stéphanie Chouinard, an assistant professor of political science at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont.

"I think it is too early to say whether we'll see the same kind of antipathy towards the Liberal government in Quebec in October," Chouinard told CBC News.

"You need to realize that there was a really strong movement to reject and really to humiliate the Wynne Liberal government." 

In Ontario, she said, it was clear when the campaign began that there would be a change in government. In Quebec, she said, a lot will depend on how the parties manage their campaigns.