Parti Quebecois, Coalition Avenir Quebec MNAs take oaths of office
Published Tuesday, April 22, 2014 7:20AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 22, 2014 8:03PM EDT
A total of 27 of the 30 members of the Parti Quebecois elected on April 7 took their oaths of office on Tuesday morning.
Joined by friends and family the small group broke into applause and loud cheers whenever an MNA rose to swear allegiance to the people of Quebec.
They rose and gave a standing ovation to Francois Gendron, the longest-serving member of the National Assembly, as he swore his oath.
Stephane Bedard, who will be leader of the opposition until a permanent party leader is chosen later this year, said the PQ government "was not beaten on its record," but instead defeated by the fear of a referendum.
He acknowledged that the PQ suffered a tremendous defeat, but said the PQ will bring a positive tone to the government's debates.
"In my heart I'm quite happy to be with my friends and collaborators and I think it will be a happy day. It's a bit sad because we lost some colleagues but the fact is that we have been given a mandate by the population and we have to abide by this mandate," said Bedard.
Jean-Francois Lisée, Lorraine Richard and Elaine Zakaib missed the ceremony and will take their oaths at a later date.
As is the party's custom, the Canadian flag was removed from the Red room during the ceremony, but the Maple Leaf was in place when the 22 MNAs of Coalition Avenir Quebec took their oaths Tuesday afternoon.
CAQ leader Francois Legault said he was happy with his party's showing at the polls this month, but said his party will only make gains by appealing to anglophone and allophone voters.
He also said that with the PQ in a state of rebuilding, the party will be too distracted to serve as the opposition.
“I'll be – we'll be – in fact the official opposition,” he said, adding that he plans to hold the Liberal party to a hard line on the economy and the national question.
“I think that M. Couillard is making an error not to better protect the Quebec nation,” he said.
Three Quebec Solidaire MNAs are scheduled to be sworn-in next month, and they, too, will remove the country's flag for the occasion.
On Wednesday Premier-designate Philippe Couillard is expected to present his cabinet.