Marois sworn in, set to become Quebec's first female premier
Published Monday, September 17, 2012 2:13PM EDT
Pauline Marois was sworn in Monday, and is set to make history as Quebec's first female premier.
The PQ leader was sworn in as the Member of the National Assembly for Charlevoix–Côte-de-Beaupré during a two-hour ceremony at the National Assembly. Marois handily won her seat in the riding on Sept. 4 and her party took a hard-fought victory, winning 54 seats in the National Assembly to form a minority government.
Officially, Marois is not yet the premier of Quebec; that will occur after she is invited to form a government. The invitation will come from Lieutenant Governor Pierre Duchesne on Wednesday.
One item was noticeably absent from the swearing-in proceedings Monday: the Canadian flag.
The removal of the Maple Leaf is part of a longstanding see-saw ritual: it had been long absent in the legislature but was restored nine years ago when Jean Charest's Liberals took office and had it placed next to the Quebec flag at the Speaker's chair in the building's ceremonial chamber.
It was back down again Monday as the PQ's caucus took the oath of office in the ornate old upper chamber, now known as the Red Room, and the Quebec Fleur-de-lis was standing alone again.
Although the Canadian flag did not fly during the ceremony, Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois, who will officially become premier on Wednesday, did pledge allegiance to the Queen, and to the people of Quebec.
Every member of the PQ caucus swore their oath to the monarch, which is a prerequisite for taking office in Canada. The party had complained during the campaign about the increased presence of the Crown under the Harper Conservatives.
One newly elected Pequiste, 20-year-old Leo Bureau-Blouin, offered only the mildest protest. He posted that part of the oath on his Twitter feed and included his own two-word complaint: "Good grief."
Marois had a message to her new MNAs Monday, particularly first-time politicians, telling them to savour the moment they were sworn in before the National Assembly becomes mired in debate. She also advised them to act with humanity on every decision they make.
She also spoke about uniting Quebecers, saying Quebecers has chosen change by choosing the Parti Quebecois to lead, and that it is time to work together and end the politics of divisiveness.
The Marois's victory has been bittersweet thus far. Despite unseating a historically unpopular Liberal government, the PQ could not muster enough momentum to win a majority.
With a strong Liberal and Coalition Avenir Quebec opposition, Marois will have her work cut out for her.
The PQ’s win was also tainted by a fatal shooting outside of their victory rally at the Metropolis Theatre in Montreal. That night, stage technician Denis Blanchette was killed as Marois delivered a speech to a crowd of supporters and a large television audience.
The PQ is expected to unveil its cabinet Wednesday.
The 50 members of the Quebec Liberals and 19 CAQ MNAs will be sworn in Tuesday afternoon. The two members of Quebec solidaire who hold seats in the National Assembly will be sworn in Sept. 26, because Amir Khadir is currently out of the country.
With files from The Canadian Press and CTVNews.ca