Quebec and Montreal political leaders react to Liberal win, Bloc resurgence
Published Tuesday, October 22, 2019 12:07PM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, October 22, 2019 7:34PM EDT
MONTREAL -- Leaders in Quebec and Montreal held news conferences Tuesday in the wake of Monday's federal election results, with Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante reiterating the city's priorities and Quebec Premier Francois Legault responding to the Bloc Quebecois's resurgence as proof the province supports the CAQ government's secularism law (Bill 21).
Legault - flanked by his minister for Quebec-Canada relations, Sonia LeBel - extended his congratulations to re-elected Prime Minister Trudeau while reminding the minority federal government leader of the reality reflected in the new provincial electoral map.
After forwarding his hopes for a positive working relationship on infrastructure, environmental policy and the economy in the province, he repeated his wish for the federal government to respect Quebec's distinct culture and the great majority, as he saw it, who voted for Bill 21 and its ban on overt religious symbols for those in positions of authority.
The Bloc's re-found popularity, he said, was based in leader Yves-Francois Blanchet's support of the bill.
"What the Bloc did is they supported the majority of Quebecers who support Bill 21," said Legault. "Because they did so, they were able to get some support in Quebec. It is because they supported the will of Quebecers."
Legault said Monday's election proved nationalism will take a greater place in Quebec and the rest of the world in the coming years.
"The majority of Quebecois are nationalists that I think voted nationalist," said Legault, adding he didn't think sovereignty was the real motivation behind the Bloc's popularity.
He said it is important that the federal government respects Quebec as a nation, and the national character of Quebec.
LeBel said the Quebec government will soon be opening a Quebec office in Ottawa to ensure the province's presence is felt in the Canadian capital.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante congratulated Trudeau on his victory Tuesday morning, wasting no time in reminding him of the city’s priorities.
“I want to seize every opportunity that I have to make a difference for Montrealers in terms of the environment,” she said, adding she plans to ask Ottawa for help to plant more trees on the island.
Plante noted that, at the beginning of the federal campaign, she spoke with each party leader to express the portfolios that are most important to the city: environmental initiatives, mobility, housing and economic development.
“A minority government allows the new government to work in collaboration with all his provincial and municipal partners because ultimately, we all represent the same citizens,” Plante said.
Plante also said she plans to follow up on her requests for greener infrastructure, buying land and building the Metro’s pink line.
She said she is also looking forward to meeting Bloc leader Blanchet, whose party scooped up 32 seats in the province (up from 10 in 2015).
“I definitely want to make sure the Bloc understands the needs of Montrealers, to communicate our passion for transportation, why the environment is so important and how I envision that,” Plante said.