Andre Fortin re-elected - Coalition Avenir Quebec wins provincial election

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Added: Wed, 10/10/2018 - 1:42pm
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Allyson Beauregard

The October 1 provincial election delivered something Quebec residents haven't seen in about 50 years – a government headed by a party other than the Liberals or Parti Québécois (PQ). With 74 seats, the Coalition Avenir Quebec, headed by Francois Legault, formed a majority with 37.42% of votes. With 24.82% of the votes, the Liberals gained 32 seats while Quebec Solidaire has 10 (16.08%) and the PQ has 9 (17.06%). The overall participation rate was 66.44%.
In the Pontiac riding, Liberal candidate Andre Fortin was re-elected for a second term with 14,839 votes (53.79%). CAQ candidate Olive Kamanyana placed second with 5,621 votes (20.37%), followed by Julia Wilkie – Quebec Solidaire (2,947 – 10.68%), Marie-Claire Nivolon – PQ (1,510 – 5.47%), Roger Fleury – Green (953 – 3.45%), Kenny Roy – Conservative (876 – 3.18%), Samuel Gendron – New Democratic Party of Quebec (802 – 2.91%), and Louis Lang – Marxist-Leninist (40 – 0.14%). The riding experienced a 53.53% participation rate.
According to Fortin, economic development will continue to be his priority. “I'll consolidate some of the work already done by the SWAT team, and continue to work with local economic development agencies,” he said, noting he strongly hopes the new government will keeping the SWAT team in place.  
Jane Toller, MRC Pontiac Warden, stated the MRC is “delighted” that Fortin
was re-elected given the “many things they have accomplished together”; she is also adamant the SWAT team continue.
“The CAQ [appears to be] very focused on economic development. We will ask permission for the SWAT team to continue, because there was benefit and gain from it. It hasn't cost the government much money ... and gives focused attention on the Pontiac, which the region needs and deserves,” she explained. Toller believes the CAQ will also favour seeing other regional projects continue and she will be meeting with Fortin to discuss his perspective on how things will move forward.
“We can only hope there will be good collaboration,” Toller told the Journal, noting she has written to Francois Legault to invite him to visit the Pontiac. 
As promised, Fortin said he will work to advance the Pontiac Pool and Villa James Shaw projects. “There are programs out there to finance such infrastructure, we just have to make sure it becomes a government priority to do so,” he said.
Asked whether the new Coalition majority will affect his work as MNA, Fortin, who will no longer be Minister of Transport, said he will continue to represent the Pontiac's interests and values to his full potential, no matter who is in government.
Toller is hopeful the CAQ will address one of the Pontiac's biggest problems – health services. “With new governments, there's a new approach, and usually a
willingness to address problems that existed before. Probably the biggest problem people had with the Liberals were their decisions regarding the health system,” explained Toller, who believes the CAQs commitment to building a new hospital in Gatineau will actually hurt the Pontiac because it “will take focus off” the Pontiac Community Hospital and redirect promised specialists to the new facility. 
Diane Grenier, president of CHIP 101.9, hopes the new government will honour increased funding for media, particularly allotting 4% of government media budgets to regional radio stations, as promised in the 90s. “All of the parties seemed to agree. We hope the CAQ will be more successful because, right now, there are important messages, like cannabis awareness, that are broadcast elsewhere and our community is missing out on hearing and seeing them,” she explained.