2 min

Quebec helps block Harper majority

Gay MP Réal Ménard easily re-elected

As many predicted, the Conservatives won another minority government, but they didn’t win as big in Quebec as the Tories hoped. As the Conservatives gained seats in Ontario, it was the Bloc Quebecois that played a significant role in stopping a Harper majority. 

Of the 75 seats available in Quebec, 50 of them went to the Bloc with most of Montreal going Liberal and a few ridings throughout the province going Conservative.

In general, this is a good thing for the fight for equality in Canada, as anything that gives the Conservatives less power will be. But the Bloc are a sovereigntist party first and foremost, so queer issues are not at the top of their list. However, their track record shows that they have been a favourable party.

Always a bit different than the rest of Quebec, the island of Montreal did not elect any Conservatives. The Tories seemed to have been aware of their unpopularity in the city, as there were barely any Conservatives signs around Montreal during the election.

The Bloc has one openly gay MP, Réal Ménard, who was easily re-elected in the Montreal riding of Hochelaga. He has long been a part of the Bloc’s shadow cabinet and is often seen as party leader Gilles Duceppe’s unofficial representative on gay issues. However, he did vote along party lines to raise the age of consent.

The other out MP, Raymond Gravel, did not run in this election, choosing to remain in the priesthood over political aspirations. He was replaced by the Bloc with up-and-comer Nicolas Dufour who at 21 is the youngest MP in Canadian history.

Laurier-Sainte-Marie, the riding that encompasses the Village and the Plateau neighbourhood, stayed steadfastly Bloc Quebecois with Gilles Duceppe easily winning his home riding.

The interesting race of the night was in Outremont, a former Liberal riding that unexpectedly went NDP in a 2007 byelection. The incumbent, Thomas Mulclair, won a relatively close race by about 2,000 votes — making him the first NDP ever elected in Quebec during a general election. Mulclair has a record of fighting for the rights of queer prisoners and refugees, such as the case of Kulenthiran Amirthalingam.

Justin Trudeau, entering federal politics officially for the first time, won the riding of Papineau for the Liberals from the Bloc Quebecois.

There were very few surprises in this election and after $300 million spent, everything is pretty much exactly as it was before. Only this time — oddly enough — a party that wants to split from Canada is the one that might just manage to to keep Canada… Canadian.