• James Armstrong

Historic win for CAQ candidate Marilyne Picard in Soulanges riding

PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

The CAQ win by candidate Marilyne Picard, pictured with husband Dominick Mercier, marks a new era in Soulanges - a region that was under Liberal governance for the past 15 years.

Emotions of excitement and elation ran high on Monday evening at Marilyne Picard’s Coalition Avenir Quebec campaign headquarters as the polling station reports rolled in and it became evident she had won the riding.

“I was ready for one or the other,” said Picard of the tight race. Throughout the evening, the results swung back and forth with a difference of between two and 100 votes between Picard and incumbent Liberal candidate Lucie Charlebois. Picard’s win paralleled the historic majority win of her party as neither the Liberals nor the Parti Québécois were able to maintain their 40-year grip on governing the province.

A vote for change

Picard’s win was also significant as it up-ended a Liberal incumbent who had represented the Soulanges riding since its creation in 2003.

“I am impressed that people have put their trust in me,” said Picard. “They have voted for change,” she said, noting she had worked hard in Hudson and Saint-Lazare to gain the confidence of voters. “I want to improve my English, that’s very important,” she added. According to Picard, voter support for the CAQ vision came from across the riding.

First priority

“Tomorrow, I want to see what is happening with the hospital file,” said Picard referring to the Vaudreuil-Soulanges hospital project and the CAQ promise to speed up its construction. As for her party’s plan for naming ministers and the organizing the governmental structure, Picard said she hadn’t been informed of them – yet. Picard is looking forward to taking her seat in the National Assembly hoping to provide a voice for severely handicapped children and their caregivers.

“I think I can make a difference for them,” said Picard who is the mother of severely handicapped child.

School Board change

Changes to how the school board system functions will happen soon, beginning with the abolition of school board elections, according to Picard. However, she didn’t elaborate on the details.

Support on the home front

“I’m going to be at home, taking care of the kids,” said Picard’s husband Dominick Mercier who has supported his wife on the campaign trail. “I’m going to be Mr. Mom,” he said with a laugh. “It was great. The results kept coming in and it was really a tight race. At the end the numbers kept going up and she won. Everyone was dancing,” he said describing the crowd’s reaction to Picard’s win in the riding office in Vaudreuil-Dorion.

Liberal reaction

It was a quiet group of Liberal supporters gathered in the campaign headquarters of Soulanges Liberal candidate Lucie Charlebois watching the election results roll in.

As media commentators predicted a CAQ win, the only question remaining was whether it would be a majority or minority government. It was a close race for most of the evening as the polling station results were tallied and the lead seesawed back and forth between the CAQ and Liberal candidates. Charlebois had not yet arrived at the Saint-Clet office to greet her supporters when the CAQ win was confirmed by media reports.

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