Quebec real estate owners breath a sigh of relief now that the election is over!

''The residential real estate market had faced potential volatility as homeowners contemplated what the various outcomes of the election could mean for the provincial economy, local businesses and property values. The election results will provide stability by removing political uncertainty for the near future.

The Quebec Liberal Party won a majority government in provincial elections on Monday, eliminating the possibility of a new referendum on independence from Canada for several years and crushing the separatist Parti Quebecois.

The election in the mainly French-speaking province had turned into a referendum on whether to hold another vote on separating from Canada, and the answer appeared to be a resounding “Non.”

The Quebec Liberals had warned incessantly that the Parti Quebecois, which had called the election in a bid to turn their minority government into a majority, would launch a referendum if it succeeded.

Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois, who lost her seat, announced she would resign as party head in view of the electoral defeat. Quebec Liberal leader Philippe Couillard will now replace her as premier of the province.

Marois is the first Quebec premier in nearly 100 years to fail to be re-elected. Marois’ defeat also marks the second straight election in which the sitting premier failed to win their seat.

Liberal candidates won in 70 of the province’s ridings, the Parti Quebecois won 30, the Coalition Avenir Quebec took 22 and Quebec Solidaire picked up three. The PQ got about 25 per cent of the popular vote, its lowest share since 1970.

Couillard, who was a neurosurgeon before he entered politics, easily won his riding of Roberval, defeating PQ incumbent Denis Trottier.

A popular health minister in Jean Charest’s government until 2008, Couillard presented himself as a uniter when he addressed ecstatic Liberal supporters late Monday evening.

“We are all Quebecers,” he said in his victory speech in his Roberval riding, which he captured from the PQ. “We should all focus on what brings us together. Let us say together, with passion, we’re all proud of being Quebecers. My friends, division is over. Reconciliation begins.”

In terms of popular support, the Liberals pulled in 41 per cent on Monday, a dramatic climb from 31 per cent in 2012.

“The results clearly demonstrate that Quebecers have rejected the idea of a referendum and want a government that will be focused on the economy and job creation,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the new government of Quebec on those priorities.”

The Parti Quebecois went into the campaign with a polling lead but this turned to dust after star candidate Pierre Karl Peladeau, a media magnate, pumped his fist in the air in saying how he wanted “to make Quebec a country.”

Though sovereignty is the raison d’etre of the Parti Quebecois, party leader Marois had focused on other issues and played down the likelihood of a referendum, but Peladeau’s declaration returned it front and center.

A first referendum in 1980 lost by almost 20 points but a second one in 1995 turned into a nail-biter for Canada, as the sovereignty option lost by just over one percentage point.

Polls show that two-thirds of Quebec citizens do not want to go through that exercise a third time, and this election showed the dangers for the separatists of musing about leaving Canada.

“Pierre Karl Peladeau was the worst nightmare for the Parti Quebecois in this election,” former federal Member of Parliament Andre Bachand, who served as senior Quebec advisor to Prime Minister Harper, said on CBC television.

Peladeau is the controlling shareholder of media empire Quebecor Inc but had stepped down from management decisions as he entered the election.

Peladeau won his seat, and while he said in his victory speech that his party must accept the result with humility, he returned to the theme of Quebec independence as he said he would work to strengthen Quebec business and productivity.

“To work to strengthen Quebec’s economy is also to work to make sovereignty more feasible,” he said.

Bernard Drainville, a former CBC journalist who served as a Parti Quebecois cabinet minister, insisted the separatists would “never give up, never, never. We will rise again from this defeat this defeat.” He then told Parti Quebecois supporters in a chant: “We want a country.”

French is the mother tongue for four out of five Quebec residents, and the separatists say they need their own country to be master of their own house.

Quebec political lore has the phrase “neverendum referendum,” suggesting it will always be a possibility at some point, but this election takes it off the table for now.

The province’s law on fixed election dates provides for the next election to be in October 2018.

Monday’s election also means the end of the Parti Quebecois’ proposed secularism charter, which would have prevented public sector employees from wearing conspicuous religious symbols, from the Muslim hijab to the Jewish yarmulke on the head to large Christian crosses.

The Quebec Liberals had strenuously opposed the charter, which had proved most popular in francophone areas outside the main cities.

On the federal level, the separatists have also not fared well, being reduced to just four of 75 Quebec seats in the House of Commons in the last federal election in 2011.

Their seats were mainly captured by the opposition New Democratic Party, which is against Quebec independence. NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said in a statement: “The NDP has taken note of the people’s desire to end the old quarrels.”''

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Daniel Stewart

Daniel Stewart

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CENTURY 21 Groupe Opt/immo
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