Philippe Couillard and his Liberals have gone down to defeat ( 32 seats ) after almost 14 years ( except for a few months of PQ's Marois) and for the first time in almost 50 years, a party other than the Liberals or Parti Quebecois will be in power..
The PQ has suffered its worst defeat since 1970, winning only 9 seats, with its leader JF Lisee, himself going down to defeat, ( like Marois in 2014) and resigning ( like Marois in 2014).
Quebec Solidaire has won 10 seats, a break through ( plus 7), winning seats outside of Montreal...Quebec City, Sherbrooke etc.
The polls were again wrong as they predicted a close race and a minority government, but the CAQ won about 37% of the votes ( the polls had shown them around 31%).
The PQ vote collapsed and that helped the CAQ and the QS as nationalists went to the CAQ and socialists went to QS.
The PQ will lose its official party status in the National Assembly and with that goes financial support. It runs the risk of oblivion, unless some energetic and articulate leader emerges and defines clearly what it stands for ( Lisee was all over the place, desperately trying to please everyone, changing the party platform as the days go by and even to personal and elitist attacks on Manon Masse, the QS outstanding face.
The CAQ appealed to nativism...raising fears of Quebec losing its language, ite culture and its values, thus its identity in the face of the threats from immigrants, refugees, Muslims, " les autres". He campaigned against increased immigration ( the Liberals were concerned with labor shortage due to the growing economy, the low birth rate, the aging population and the need for workers, skilled and unskilled to fill the need). Legault was adamant that Quebec should take in 10,000 less ( from 50,000 to 40,000); that those who came in would have to pass a French proficiency test in 3 years or be deported ( they are protected against this by Sec.6 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms). He also wanted to limit the wearing of hijabs in the workplace and most importantly protect " Quebec Values".
His appeal was to the Quebec of the past, with its core religious values; its homogeneity; its language insulated and its identity secured. This was an appeal to nostalgia, to the pre-60s Quebec of family farms, Catholicism, to populism and against the foreign hordes and the frightening new world that is at the gates.
It is reminiscent of the 1944 election, when Maurice Duplessis and his Union National used lies and fears to defeat the Liberal government of Adelard Godbout. Godbout had won the election in 1939 with his support of Canada's entry in WW11 and had governed very competently, introducing many progressive reforms, like giving women the right to vote (1940), founded Hydro Quebec, free education up to grade 7 and a labor code allowing workers to form unions. Duplessis and his wealthy supporters and the Catholic church were adamantly opposed to these " progressive" changes and went on a campaign of fears, lies and against Quebec's support for the war ( PM McKenzie King's "Conscription, If Necessary"). Duplessis falsely accused Godbout of wanting to bring 100,000 Jewish refugees into Quebec, got support from Lionel Groulx and the Catholic church and money poured from wealthy businessmen fearing the workers and their unions. It worked and the Liberals were defeated.
La Grande Noiceur of Roncarelli, Jehovah Witness, Padlock law, communist witch hunt, anti-labor, pro business, anti immigrant became the order of the day until the Supreme Court struck the laws and he died and in 1960 the Liberals under Jean Lesage and his message of Maitre des Chez Nous won and ushered in the Quiet Revolution, which would lead Quebec out of the corrupt, priest-ridden agricultural society of large families and illiteracy to a Quebec with public schools, a new emerging middle class unafraid of technology or business innovation.
Now we are back to fears about identity, language, culture, Quebec values and the need to be protected from Muslims, Immigration, refugees, and the encroaching world of internet, i phones, social media/platforms. Thus language tests, deportations, Quebec values and no hijab in the work place.