Stunning Liberal gains in Quebec as Trudeau wins majority government
Liberals make major comeback in the province, stealing away seats from NDP
The Liberal Party has made gains in Quebec not seen since the Jean Chrétien era, as a red wave carries leader Justin Trudeau to Ottawa with a big majority.
By early Tuesday morning, the party had been declared the winner in 40 Quebec ridings.
In his victory speech at Montreal's Queen Elizabeth hotel, Trudeau addressed Quebecers directly, saying they had made the decision to re-engage with Canada.
"We have chosen to trust one another and to invest in our future," Trudeau told the crowd in French.
"We beat negative politics with a positive vision that brings Canadians together."
Soon after the polls closed, Trudeau was declared the winner in his own seat, the north end Montreal riding of Papineau.
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Tonight's results represent a stunning gain in Quebec for the Liberals, who took just seven seats in the province in 2011.
It appears the party has finally overcome the voters' backlash from the sponsorship scandal, which has haunted the party in Quebec since it surfaced ahead of the 2006 federal election campaign. The party dropped from 21 to 13 seats in that election and hasn't had more than 14 since.
The Liberals weren't the only ones with a surprising night in Quebec.
While NDP Leader Tom Mulcair was able to hold on to his own seat in the Montreal riding of Outremont, the NDP was only elected won a total of 16 seats.
The result is a major disappointment for the party after 2011, when the party won 59 seats and nearly obliterated the Bloc Québécois.
Chants of Trudeau at Liberal soirée in Montreal - voters in Papineau elected the next PM of Canada <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/elxn42?src=hash">#elxn42</a> <a href="https://t.co/hZIRyA4GHj">pic.twitter.com/hZIRyA4GHj</a>—@OrmistonOnline
The NDP came into the 78-day campaign poised for another strong showing in the province, with polls suggesting Mulcair's party well in the lead.
But the tide turned against the NDP in Quebec in the last half of the campaign, when both the Bloc and Conservatives played up the niqab issue in the days leading up to the first of the two televised French-language debates on Sept. 24.
Mulcair's pledge to balance the budget may also not have helped the NDP campaign in a province where electors are already feeling constrained by provincial cost-cutting measures.
Conservatives double seat count
Despite major losses nationally, the Conservatives were able to make some inroads in Quebec, with Gérard Deltell winning the Quebec City riding of Louis-St-Laurent.
Deltell, a former broadcaster, left the Coalition Avenir Québec to run for the federal seat.
The party finished the night with 12 seats — up from a total of five in the last election.
The Conservatives had also made a push to gain a presence in Montreal, with Stephen Harper opening his campaign in the traditional Liberal stronghold of Mount Royal, which has long been coveted by his party.
But they were unable to win the riding, with Anthony Housefather taking the seat for the Liberals.
Bloc falls short
Bloc Québécois chief Gilles Duceppe was unable to win back his own riding in Laurier—Sainte-Marie, which was held by NDP incumbent Hélène Laverdière.
Duceppe, who came out of retirement just weeks before the write was dropped on Aug. 2 to take over from a beleaguered Mario Beaulieu, was hoping to help the party get back official status.
To do that, the Bloc had to win 12 seats. They won ten.
Because of population growth, riding maps were redrawn, and Quebec has three new seats in this election, for a total of 78.