Liberals hang on to 19 seats on Montreal island, but CAQ makes inroads

François Legault's party won Bourget and Pointe-aux-Trembles in Montreal's east end — the first seats ever for the Coalition Avenir Québec on the island of Montreal.

CAQ wins Pointe-aux-Trembles, Bourget and Québec Solidaire doubles seats on island to 6

Dominique Anglade, in red, the deputy premier at dissolution, won her seat in Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne. The Liberals retained most of their support on the island of Montreal, but the CAQ made important inroads. (Radio-Canada)

While it was clear within half an hour of the polls closing Monday night that Coalition Avenir Québec was on the way to victory, the Liberals retained most of their seats on the island of Montreal, where the party has historically shored up much of its support.

But the CAQ has made a historic breakthrough on the island, with Chantal Rouleau elected in Pointe-aux-Trembles and Richard Campeau winning in Bourget, both ridings in Montreal's east end.

This is the first time François Legault's party has made any inroads in Montreal since the CAQ was formed in 2011.

"It was very important to have a foothold on the island of Montreal," Rouleau told Radio-Canada. "I will work very hard to be a voice for all Montrealers."

On the eve of the election, Legault made a "special call" for Montrealers to vote for the CAQ, saying he believed his party could make headway in the city.

The Liberals still managed to win 19 of 27 seats on the island of Montreal, according to CBC's vote tracker.

But the party's overall share of the vote on the island is down at least 16 per cent, while the CAQ's has climbed up by more than seven per cent.

In 2014, the Liberals won 20 of the 27 ridings on the island, while the Parti Québécois won four and Québec Solidaire was elected in three.

Vincent Marissal beat out PQ Leader Jean-François Lisée, claiming his seat in Rosemont for Québec Solidaire. (Radio-Canada)

Off-island suburbs go to CAQ

The CAQ also won the Laval riding of Sainte-Rose, previously held by the Liberals.

As of midnight Tuesday, Laval-des-Rapides was still not declared, with the Liberals' Saul Polo a little more than 300 votes ahead of the CAQ's Christine Mitton.

François Legault celebrates with supporters after winning the election. His CAQ took 19 of 23 ridings in the Montérégie region and won two ridings on the island of Montreal — a first for the seven-year-old party. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

On Montreal's South Shore, where the CAQ has had a strong base, the party has cemented its support, winning 19 of the Montérégie's 23 ridings.

CAQ veteran Christian Dubé, who stepped down in Lévis in 2014 to take a job at the Caisse de dépôt, is back in the National Assembly, elected by a wide margin in La Prairie over the Liberals' Richard Merlini.

Legault focused his attention on voters in the Montérégie region, where he made a quarter of his stops in the 39-day campaign, compared to Montreal, where he made just 10 per cent of his campaign stops.

In Châteauguay, Liberal MNA and former cabinet minister Pierre Moreau lost to the CAQ's Marie-Chantal Chassé.

CAQ candidate Lionel Carmant won the Longueuil riding of Taillon, a PQ stronghold since 1976 and once the riding held by both PQ leaders René Lévesque and Pauline Marois.

Carmant said he was "elated" by his victory. 

"This is unbelievable," he told CBC News.

Québec Solidaire's best result

It was a remarkable night for Québec Solidaire, as the left-wing party had its best-ever showing at the polls.

Ten candidates are headed to the National Assembly, four of them from ridings off the island of Montreal.

The party's co-spokespeople were both re-elected handily: Manon Massé in the riding of Sainte-Marie–Saint-Jacques and Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois in Gouin.

Quebec Solidaire's Manon Massé shows the love for her supporters Monday night. 'Québec Solidaire is not just the party of the Plateau–Mont-Royal,' she said. (Peter McCabe/The Canadian Press)

​"Today my friends, you're reaping what you sowed. Our movement is bigger, stronger, and more resolute than ever. Québec Solidaire is not just the party of the Plateau–Mont-Royal," Massé told cheering supporters.

"Québec Solidaire is the party for people who want things to change for real."

In the riding of Rosemont, Québec Solidaire's star candidate, former La Presse columnist Vincent Marissal, unseated Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée.

"It's still sinking in," Marissal said after the result, crediting Massé's "refreshing" presence on the campaign trail and the party's wide-ranging package of policies for their success in more than tripling their seat count to ten provincewide.

The PQ was shut out across the island — winning just nine seats across the province and 17.1 per cent of the popular vote — and Lisée announced he would be stepping down as party leader.

With its dismal showing, there is no way for the PQ to retain official party status in the next National Assembly.

Key Liberals re-elected

Kathleen Weil, the Liberal MNA who headed the province's anglophone secretariat at dissolution, has been declared re-elected in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, while Dominique Anglade, the economy minister and deputy premier, has been declared re-elected in Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne.

The Liberals have also won all four ridings in the West Island: Jacques-Cartier, Nelligan, Marquette and Robert-Baldwin.

In Jacques-Cartier, Greg Kelley, the son of longtime Liberal MNA Geoff Kelley, who retired from politics at dissolution, will take over from his father, while Carlos Leitão, the party's finance minister,​ has been re-elected in Robert-Baldwin. 

Longtime Liberal MNA Christine St-Pierre, who has been re-elected in Acadie, thanked her constituents but expressed dismay at the overall results.

"I can tell you that I am of course disappointed, very disappointed. What we have to do is respect the verdict of the population," she said.

"We have to continue to work. We have to play the role of Official Opposition.… As an Official Opposition, we will be very strong."

You score a hat trick, but your team has lost: it's a little bit hard to take.- Enrico Ciccone

Jennifer Maccarone, the former president of the Quebec English School Boards Association, won handily in Westmount–​Saint-Louis, while new Liberal candidate Enrico Ciccone won in Marquette.

"It's bittersweet," Maccarone told CBC News.

Ciccone, a former professional hockey player, also said he had mixed emotions.

"We worked hard, but of course you want to see your party win, also," he said.

"You score a hat trick, but your team has lost: it's a little bit hard to take."

CAQ veteran Christian Dubé, who quit the party in 2014, is back, handily winning the riding of La Prairie on Montreal's South Shore. (Radio-Canada)

Montreal-Quebec City relationship

It remains to be seen how the relationship between Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante and a CAQ government in Quebec City will take shape.

During the election campaign, Legault said he would consider cutting down the size of Montreal's city council if elected premier. That was criticized by Plante, who accused the CAQ leader of "interference" in municipal issues.

Plante had also sought a firm commitment from all parties that the province would help finance her plan to build a new Pink line for the Montreal Metro.

Legault previously said the Pink line wouldn't be a priority for a CAQ government but softened his stance after meeting Plante in September. He said he'd be willing to support the project if the Pink line could be some form of public transit other than a Metro line, and if a consensus on its construction is reached among on- and off-island mayors.

With files from CBC Montreal's Kate McKenna and Navneet Pall


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