The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Couillard wins Quebec Liberal leadership

  • Print

MONTREAL - The new leader of the Quebec Liberals says he wants to make strengthening the province’s place in Canada a priority for the party.

Philippe Couillard, who was elected by party delegates Sunday at a convention in Montreal, said he wants to unite Quebecers under the Liberal banner, whether they choose federalism “out of passion, or out of reason.”

“Today a race ends, but today a march begins,” he told party delegates following his victory.

“We start the renewal of our party.”

The former health minister replaces Jean Charest, who stepped down after the Liberals were defeated by the Parti Quebecois in last September's election.

Couillard served as health minister under Charest between 2003 and 2008 and was the presumed front-runner from the outset of the leadership campaign.

He won on the first ballot in a landslide with 58.5 per cent of the vote.

The surprise second-place finisher, former cabinet minister Pierre Moreau, ended up better than expected and has become a more powerful figure in the party.

The last-place finisher, Raymond Bachand, was the finance minister who was the architect of tuition hikes that sparked angry confrontational protests in the months before the Liberals were knocked out of power.

As the new head of the provincial Liberals, Couillard not only must lead the party into the next election, which could come sooner rather than later because the PQ only has a minority.

He also immediately becomes a key for voice for Canadian unity inside Quebec.

Couillard said during the campaign he wanted to go beyond economic ties to build connections between Quebec and Canada.

He promised to work toward Quebec signing the Canadian Constitution, though not necessarily any time soon.

One PQ minister already jumped on the possibility of reopening thorny constitutional talks, offering a hint of the battles to come.

Alexandre Cloutier, the PQ’s point man on sovereignty, criticized Couillard in a tweet, saying Couillard wants to sign the constitution before laying out his demands for Quebec.

Couillard takes over from Charest, who led the party for 14 years, including nine as premier.

The party devoted the first day of its weekend convention to paying tribute to their longtime leader.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Sneak peek: The galleries of CMHR

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Young goslings are growing up quickly near Cresent Lake in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba- See Bryksa 30 Day goose project- Day 11- May 15, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A squirrel enjoys the morning sunshine next to the duck pond in Assiniboine Park Wednesday– June 27, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you plan on attending any of the CMHR opening weekend events? (select all that apply)

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google