Political rookie makes history in Quebec
Published Saturday, March 31, 2007 10:11PM EDT
No one was more stunned by the results of this week's Quebec election than Simon-Pierre Diamond. Not because of the impressive showing of this party, the Action democratique; but because of his own surprise win.
At 22 years old, Diamond is the youngest person elected to the provincial legislature in the province's history.
Not too bad for a guy who's still in school and couldn't even afford a car to campaign in.
He used the bus to go door-to-door through his riding of Marguerite-D'Youville, southeast of Montreal, and asked for the support of his neighbours.
His car-free days are over. With an important job, he'll now have to shell out some of his new $80,000 salary for a set of wheels to drive to his new office in the Quebec National Assembly.
When the results started coming in Monday night, Diamond and his friends thought they were dreaming. Diamond had won by more than 2,000 votes as his party swept the province and vaulted to official Opposition status.
The phone's been ringing off the hook ever since, including a call of congratulation from his new boss, Mario Dumont.
Diamond never did take that call; he was on another line when the call came in, so Dumont just left a message.
Diamond entered the world of politics at a young age, handing out flyers when he was eight years old for his father, who once ran for the Liberals. He later became the president of the ADQ youth wing.
The charming student, who is just six exams away from a law degree at the Universit� de Montr�al, says he knows exactly why he was elected.
"Because I was dynamic, passionate -- for all those reasons they vote for me. It's not because I don't go bowling every Sunday night that I'm not a great guy."
In a bit of a bitter twist, the man Diamond knocked off for the title of youngest MNA was Andre Boisclair, who was 23 when he was first elected in 1989.
The Parti Quebecois leader is now out of a record, and soon, likely out of a job. His party finished the race in third place and many blame Boisclair's leadership for the party's worst result since 1970.
Diamond many be the youngest ever MNA, but he's not the youngest to ever win a seat in a Canadian legislature.
That title belongs to Claude-Andre Lachance, who was first elected to the House of Commons in 1974 at the age of 20. He was re-elected in the 1979 and 1980 elections but lost his seat in 1984.
So what's Lachance advice to the rookie?
"You've got a lot of time to talk. But for the first few years, listen," he advises.