Tale of two separatist parties: QS jubilant, PQ not so much

Never has a party's supporters been so jubilant to come in third place.

Quebec Solidaire more than tripled their caucus, to 10 MNAs, winning new seats across the island of Montreal and beyond, posting surprise wins not just in two Quebec City ridings, but in Sherbrooke and Rouyn-Nouranda as well, in addition to the shock defeat of PQ leader Jean-François Lisée in his riding of Rosemont, to former La Presse journalist Vincent Marissal.

The party is now not just two seats shy of official status in the National Assembly, but they're also now set to be the largest separatist party in the new term of the National Assembly, ahead of the diminished PQ by one seat.

Co-spokesperson Manon Massé declared, to thunderous applause, that her party was "no longer the party of the Plateau Mont-Royal."

QS says it wants to be a "constructive opposition" to the incoming Legault Government, with co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois citing electoral reform as an area where the party hopes to find common ground with the CAQ.  However, Nadeau-Dubois emphasized that the party's MNAs won't be afraid to dig in their heels if the CAQ is making the wrong decisions.

Nadeau-Dubois added that his party's strong showing should be seen as a wakeup call to what he referred to as "the old parties" in Quebec.

"Quebec Solidaire is coming," he said.

Photo: Shawn Dearn (CJAD 800)

Lisée quits PQ leadership; insists party still has a place

In defeat, Jean-François Lisée told Parti Québécois supporters that the province would always need the PQ.

However, Lisée's failure to get re-elected in his Rosemont riding and his inability to stop the advance of Québec Solidaire brought his political career to an end. 

As the polls closed PQ president Gabrielle Lemieux seemed to know it was going to be a difficult night.

"All of us together we're going to look at (the results), we're going to take the time to analyze what it means," she said. "For the rest, I'm very content with our campaign." 

Lemieux added that Lisée would "have an opportunity to address himself to everyone here" later in the evening. 

The Parti Québecois and Lisée just couldn't keep up with the CAQ or the Liberals, nor could they stop Québec Solidaire's growing popularity among young separatists — and even some anglophones. 

Lisée said he accepted the decision of voters — both in his riding and across the province — as he stepped down as party leader, adding it is now up to a new generation of PQ and QS sovereignists make Quebec its own country. 

CJAD 800's Benson Cook and Shawn Dearn contributed to this report.