Federal Liberals unscathed, but denied growth in Quebec
MONTREAL -- Quebecers helped keep Justin Trudeau's Liberals to the status quo -- in Quebec, and with a minority government overall -- by awarding them many of the same seats they won in 2019, without the growth they coveted.
"We have the same kinds of results that we did in 2019," said McGill political scientist Antonia Maioni.
"The Liberal party has maintained its seats. It wasn't able to grow the number of seats in Quebec, and that's a problem if it ever wants to regain a majority."
The Liberals entered the election with 35 seats in the province, compared with 32 for the Bloc. It ended the night with exactly the same seat count, as of 2 a.m., with the Bloc steady at 32 as well.
The party held on to some of its most anxiety-inducing ridings, including Hochelaga, the only one seriously contested on the Island of Montreal.
However, it failed to make inroads in some others, losing primarily to the Bloc in a few that seemed within reach, including the Saint-Therese-Blainville riding, which was held by a Liberal MP until 2019.
The Liberals and Bloc have been battling it out for weeks, especially in the suburbs around Montreal and especially after the Bloc saw a surge of support after the English-language debate less than two weeks before Election Day.
The occasional seat was swapped between the two parties, but the overall count looks to end up back at square one. In Chateauguay-Lacolle, for example, Bloc candidate Patrick O'Hara ousted the Liberal incumbent Brenda Shanahan.
But the Bloc was barely holding on to another South Shore riding that the Liberals went after fiercely: Longueuil-Saint-Hubert, where the race still hadn't been called as of Tuesday morning, with incumbent Denis Trudel just 1,805 votes ahead of his Liberal challenger, Florence Gagnon.
The Liberals handily held on to the riding next door, the equally contested Longueuil-Charles-LeMoyne, with incumbent Sherry Romanado.
Other parties had mixed results.
The NDP held onto its single seat in Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie, where the MP is Alexandre Boulerice. But a second seat was in contention for the NDP, too: former MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau was within a few hundred votes in an attempted comeback in Berthier-Maskinongé that was too close to call untll Tuesday, when her loss was declared.
People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier lost in his riding of Beauce to the Conservative incumbent, Richard Lehoux, while Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet were re-elected in their Quebec ridings.
The Conservatives, hoping to expand their stronghold around Quebec City, didn't manage to do so -- but like the Liberals, they held on to what they had.
And some ridings are still too close to call, as of Tuesday morning, including Trois-Rivieres, where the Bloc and Conservatives are 60 votes apart, and Brome-Missisquoi, where the Bloc candidate leads the Liberal incumbent by just 94 votes.