After nine years, voters have returned the Parti Québécois to power in Quebec, albeit, and for the first time ever, as a minority government.
The results shortly after midnight Tuesday had Pauline Marois’s (pictured in an earlier photograph) PQ as the projected winner with 54 seats (63 are required for a majority), 50 seats for the Liberals—whose leader, Jean Charest, lost his home riding of Sherbrooke—19 seats for the CAQ and 2 seats for the sovereigntist Quebec Solidaire.
Marois is the clear winner, of course, but Canadians across the land can take some comfort in the results that saw the PQ garner only about a third of all votes casts and win several seats short of a majority government. In fact, the combined total votes cast for all three sovereigntist parties on the ballot was under 40 per cent.
Perhaps, therefore, a “sovereigntist sword of Damocles”, as the Toronto Star’s Chantal Hébert calls it, won’t hang quite so ominously over Canada. Though, it should be said, even a minority separatist government can cause enough mischief to distract Stephen Harper’s Conservatives from the serious business of guiding the country through very uncertain economic times.
I don’t trust the PQ or its leader. If one sniffs the air about them, one gets a whiff of the acrid smell of racism. And that’s a scary thing.