(Charest with his wife after his speech September 4th)
The Historical Night that Changed Quebec, as Charest says "Au Revoir"
One evening that will be left in the memories of Quebec citizens is indeed September 4th 2012, which gave the province their first female premier; the youngest depute in the National Assembly, but did not end without a tragic event to remind us of an era in turmoil.
(Marois seen here during the election campaign with Bureau-Blouin)
The results remained close from the beginning, with the Parti Québécois remaining neck and neck with the Liberal Party. Despite a minority government, 74% of voters participated, a strong difference compared to only 57% in 2008.
At about 9:00 p.m. bursts of joy arose from the Metropolis where PQ supporters were gathered when their party was officially announced as the new government. The race remained sealed until the end, but not without major change.
For the first time ever, the Quebec government will have a woman as premier. Many mothers who are head of households and other female politicians such as Québec Solidaire’s Francoise David were overjoyed, since women in politics have difficulty being seen as equal to their male counterparts.
Also, the younger generation has a new voice added, as former president of Fédération
étudiantecollégiale du Québec (FECQ) Léo Bureau-Blouin was elected as depute in the Laval-des-Rapides riding at only 20 years old, looking emotional at the announcement of his victory. He worked as a major part of the student movement for two years and wants to be an example to encourage younger people into politics.
His decision didn’t come as a shock. When his mandate as FECQ president ended in June, many speculated his charisma would one day land him in politics- but was not expected so soon. He plans to continue studying law part-time in university while balancing his position.
Francoise David, who impressed many on the debates of August 19th, will be sitting next to her QS colleague Amir Kadir in the National Assembly.
The situation is a contrast compared to four years earlier, when Jean Charest had sought a majority. At the time, only 1 in 3 people 18-24 had voted. This year’s elections were quite different and saw a higher participating level from the age group considering the student strike, though estimations are not yet in.
However after 28 years as leader in the Sherbrooke district and Premier since 2003, Liberal leader Jean Charest was voted out by almost 3,000 votes in his own riding, and was replaced by PQ candidate Serge Cardin. The Liberal party quickly saw themselves defeated as the opposition after nine years as government.
This morning, Jean Charest announced he would step down from politics as to avoid bad blood in the newly elected assembly.
As Marois stepped to the microphone and began giving her speech, the entire audience and viewers at home were awestruck as her bodyguards whisked her off the stage. Minutes later, RDI declared shots were heard outside.
A 62-year-old man named Richard Bain was armed with an AK-47 and attempted to break into the Metropolis by setting the back door on fire. It took seconds for him to be caught by police. Two people were shot, leaving one dead.
“It is a tragic day where an exercise of democracy is met with an act of violence,” said Prime Minister Harper, which left a bitter taste in some people’s mouths since the Federal Government abolished the gun registry in 2011 against Quebec’s will.
The attacker’s words as police dragged him away; “The English are waking up,” making everyone shudder.
With grace, despite refusal from her guards, Marois insisted on giving a speech with her fellow candidates by her side, addressing both Francophones and Anglophones by reminding us, we “share the same history.”
“…to the families of Quebec, to the youth of Quebec, to the elderly of Quebec. […] We will respect the mandate you gave us.”
At 63 years old, Marois has a long career that spans over thirty years, with 15 ministerial positions including minister of education and minister of finances. She is now the first “première ministre” and understands the heavy neglected workload the Charest government has left behind.
With 2012 as the year of a much needed wind of change in Quebec, opening to a new era, that brought the longest student strike in North America and three of the largest protests in history, only time will tell what the next chapter will read in our lively province.
Marois will officially be sworn in as Quebec Premier in ten days’ time.
Labels: Education, elections 2012, Families, new governement parti quebecois pauline marois leo bureau blouin, parti liberal quebec, quebec elections