In a highly anticipated byelection on Monday evening, Pascal Paradis of Parti Québécois has triumphed, securing a win in Jean-Talon, a coveted Quebec City area riding. The victory delivers a blow to the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) candidate, relegating them to second place and bolstering the PQ’s tenuous foothold in the National Assembly.
Notably, Paradis is the inaugural PQ candidate to clinch the Jean-Talon seat. For more than half a century—from 1965 to 2019—the riding was a stronghold for the Liberals until their hold was broken by the CAQ.
With a considerable lead soon after the polls shut, Paradis made an impressive debut on the electoral stage. Following the tally of 57 out of 163 ballot boxes, the PQ candidate had harnessed 44 per cent of the votes, leaving the CAQ trailing behind. This victory comes as a surprise, considering the neck-and-neck competition between the PQ and the CAQ in the run-up to the election.
As celebrations kicked off, PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon addressed supporters, lavishing praise on Paradis, the new addition to the PQ’s tally in the National Assembly, which now stands at four MNAs. Plamondon also took the opportunity to jest at the CAQ, using their previous slogan, ‘Continuons’ (let’s continue), to drive his point home.
Post elections the CAQ, as expected, held their ground steadfastly. Quebec Premier Francois Legault even went on to address his losing candidate, expressing gratitude towards Marie-Anik Shoiry for her valiant efforts. He spoke of her remarkable campaign and assured her that despite the sting of defeat, she had earned the respect of their entire CAQ family.
For CAQ, this loss marks an unfortunate episode of conceding the riding, previously held by CAQ MNA Joelle Boutin who made a decision to bow out of politics earlier this year, leading to this byelection. Her exit was prompted by her intention to explore opportunities in the private sector.
Other contestants included Quebec solidaire’s Olivier Bolduc who finished third and Elise Avard Bernier of the Quebec Liberals who, despite her party’s erstwhile grip on the riding, ended in a distant fourth place.
The byelection saw an estimated 60 per cent voter turnout with roughly 25,000 individuals actively participating. In the pre-polling held on September 24th and 25th, 22 per cent of the eligible voters casted their votes.
In the immediate aftermath of the byelection, the tally of seats in the legislature stands at: Coalition Avenir Quebec with 89 seats, the Liberals with 19, Quebec solidaire with 12 seats, the PQ with four MNAs and a single independent candidate holding a seat.