Stunning NDP collapse in Quebec, 'the house that Jack built'
Karolyn Coorsh, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, October 20, 2015 12:54AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 20, 2015 2:08AM EDT
The New Democrats have suffered a catastrophic loss of seats in Quebec, the province that caught the “Orange wave” in 2011 and catapulted the party to Official Opposition status.
On Monday night, the NDP was reduced to 10 seats, while the Liberals were leading or elected in more than 30. The Bloc Quebecois, which was nearly annihilated in 2011 when it was reduced to four seats, made a comeback with 10 seats. However, Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe failed to gain a seat in Laurier-Sainte-Marie.
“What we’re seeing in Quebec is actually a sweep by Mr. Trudeau … in effect, taking the place of the orange wave,” CTV election analyst Antonia Maioni said on Monday night.
With Jack Layton leading the party in 2011, the NDP gained a whopping 59 seats in Quebec, a near sweep of the province. The so-called “orange wave” helped shoot the NDP to Official Opposition status for the first time in Canada’s history.
Layton died from cancer just months after taking office as Opposition leader, and his party was tasked with leading several rookie politicians who hadn’t been expected to gain seats in Quebec.
Speaking to supporters on Monday night, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said that the NDP roots “continue to develop” in Quebec.
“The NDP will always be a real choice for Quebecers,” Mulcair said in French.
But despite the “orange crash” in the 2015 election, at least one rookie NDP MP first elected in Quebec in 2011 is returning to the House of Commons.
Ruth Ellen Brousseau, a young mother from Ottawa with no political experience, managed to hold on to her seat in the riding of Berthier-Maskinonge on Monday night.
Brousseau, who faced immense media pressure in the days following the election after news surfaced that she had been out of the country on election night, has earned the respect of her colleagues and constituents, CTV’s Parliamentary Bureau Chief Robert Fife said.
He said Brousseau had transformed into a “phenomenal parliamentarian.”
“She’s impressed everyone on Parliament Hill when she could have been a laughingstock,” Fife said.
During the 2015 campaign, the NDP saw their popularity diminish in Quebec as they appeared to be at odds with many Quebecers over key issues.
One was the controversy over the niqab, which became a lightning-rod issue particularly in Quebec, where a proposed ban on face coverings is popular.
While the Conservatives and Bloc Quebecois opposed allowing the niqab during citizenship ceremonies, the NDP stuck by their stance that women should not be required to unveil during the swearing-in process.
Bloc Quebecois comeback
Despite a comeback for the Bloc, the party has fallen short of the 12 seats needed to regain official party status in the House of Commons. And, Duceppe, who came out of political retirement to lead the Bloc during the election failed to gain his own seat.