Conservative party Action Democratique (ADQ) has reduced the ruling Liberals to a minority government in elections in Quebec. ADQ is seeking greater autonomy for the province, whilst remaining part of Canada. Many of the 7.5 million residents still seek independence and the new opposition may be seen as a bridge between the separatists and the Liberals.
But ADQ’s leader Mario Dumont insisted that this election was based on policy rather than a referendum.
“People have seen that every election was just a battle between the ‘yes’ and the ‘nos’. An election was just like another referendum. It’s no more the case in Quebec. Now you have debates about healthcare, about other ideas for education, for the economy. And I think that’s largely the big contribution of the ADQ,” he said.
ADQ took 41 of the 125 seats available, reducing the Liberals majority to just 7.
The leader of the Liberals, Jean Charest, called for unity. “My wish is that we are able to finish this day united behind a choice of a majority government and a strong government and the liberal governments.”
The separatist Parti Quebecois become the third party in Quebec as they had significant losses, gaining 36 seats. Parti Quebecois is canvassing independence from Canada. However, this result makes it unlikely Quebec will go back to the polls for a referendum on separation any time soon.