After anxiously watching the TV screens dotted around La Cage aux Sports, supporters of Françoise Boivin burst into loud cheers when Boivin was announced the MP of Gatineau.
Gatineau was one of the most hotly contested ridings in the country, with the NDP candidate running against Liberal Steven Mackinnon and Bloc Québécois incumbent Richard Nadeau.
Boivin puts the win down to a lot of hard work, her avid use of social media, people wanting a change from old-school politics and her “connection with the people in Gatineau.”
“They were receptive to our [NDP] message of change, of doing things differently – being there for the people… for me, it’s really revenge of the people. They came out in full force, said enough is enough, let’s go for a positive party,” she says.
This was the third time Boivin had run in federal elections. She was the Liberal MP for Gatineau from 2004 until she lost to Nadeau in 2006. Boivin then switched to the NDP party and ran against Nadeau in 2008, losing by a narrow margin. This time she won by more than 50 percent.
“It’s a loud message from the people of Gatineau, so I am just ecstatic,” she says. “Quebec wants respect and just to feel respected, and I think they felt they could get that from the NDP. Nobody was paying attention, except the NDP, to the public and what they were saying.”
Boivin says that it is an interesting time and the NDP will have to remain strong against Stephen Harper.
“The NDP caucus will have to be very alert and on our feet to make sure that we don’t give an easy game to Harper. There will be a lot of challenges for years to come, that is for sure,” she says.