Electoral shock in Québec
A by-election was held in Québec on Monday, October 2. It took place in the riding of Jean-Talon, covering mostly affluent and university-educated areas of Québec City. A two-way battle was taking shape between the ruling CAQ party and the Parti Québécois (PQ), which was hoping to spring a surprise.
In the 2022 general election, the CAQ had won this historically Liberal riding, winning 90 of the 125 seats in the province as a whole.
Well, well, well! The PQ pulled off the upset... and by a solid margin. The victory of PQ candidate Pascal Paradis was confirmed by an impressive majority. Pascal Paradis was elected with over 40% of the vote against less than 25% for his CAQ opponent.
It's fair to say that the CAQ missed a great opportunity to put down roots in the riding. Almost a year to the day after the most recent general election, the defeat leaves a bitter taste.
The by-election is not a crisis for the government, but a warning for the coming months. It will be interesting to see how the government, which has embarked on a number of major reforms and is faced with a strike from the unions, can adapt and bounce back.
What explains this defeat for the government party? First and foremost, it was the decision of Québec City voters, who took the government's dithering on transportation in the region very badly. It may also reflect a certain wear and tear on the power of a government that claims to be a grand coalition, but which sometimes lacks unity when it comes to doing many things at once.
On the other hand, we must remember that a by-election is an opportunity to send a message, not a choice of government. The voters of Jean-Talon have therefore definitely sent their message of discontent, and it will be interesting to see the consequences over the coming weeks and months.
One thing is certain: the current parliamentary session will be affected by the results of this by-election. It is likely that the opposition parties will be more aggressive and will feel strengthened in their intentions to put more pressure on the government.
For the first time in five years, a political party other than the CAQ has real political momentum in the province. Indeed, the results show that the Liberal Party, Québec solidaire and the Québec Conservative Party all experienced a decline compared to last year's general election in the same riding.