Former Liberal fortress safe for Grits no more
An orange tsunami, not a wave, has hit Quebec. Among the casualties in the New Democratic Party’s surge as the official opposition party to Stephen Harper’s majority Conservative government was Marlene Jennings. The Liberal incumbent who held the NDG-Lachine riding since 1997 lost to 26-year-old NDP candidate Isabelle Morin.
At 10 p.m., with votes trickling in, it became increasingly clear that Morin was taking a lead. Jennings watched CBC on a projector against the wall in her office on Westminster Avenue in Montreal West with supporters holding their breath alongside her. As the results continued to appear on the screen, many of the friends muttered “oh my god,” shocked that the Jennings stronghold was no more.
Meanwhile, the young French teacher Morin was watching with bated breath at the NDP rally held at the Rialto Theatre in the heart of the Plateau. Surrounded by fellow candidates, Morin admitted she was overwhelmed by all the support she had received.
“When I was doing door-to-door and meeting all my constituents, I was repeatedly told that I should not be surprised if I won tonight,” she said. “They needed change and we were the party to give them that. I know that Jennings had a lot of experience but I am young and I have a lot of energy. I do not doubt that I can do as good a job as she did.”
At 11 p.m., when it became apparent that Morin had won, Jennings addressed her volunteers.
“I wish to congratulate (Morin),” she said. “I want thank everybody in my riding for having supported me for 14 years.”
Conservative candidate Matthew Conway spent his election night at Tavern Magnan in Lachine amongst his campaign volunteers and supporters. He placed third in the vote.
“I’m not surprised, people wanted change,” he said. “They saw that their interests were not taken care of under the previous representative. The orange crush swept up parts of Montreal.”
Both Green Party candidate Jessica Gal and Bloc Québécois candidate Gabrielle Ladouceur-Despin opted to wait for election results with their respective parties and fellow candidates. Gal could be found alongside Green Party deputy leader and former Montreal Canadiens Georges Laraque at Pub Quartier Latin on Ontario Road while Despin celebrated with party leader Gilles Duceppe at Theatre Telus on St. Denis.