Quebec Premier François Legault took to social media to congratulate Justin Trudeau for being re-elected as Canada’s prime minister on Tuesday, less than two weeks after criticizing the Liberals and expressing his preference for a Conservative minority government.
On Sept. 9, Legault met with reporters and said the federal Liberal, NDP and Green parties were “dangerous” for the interests of Quebec nationalists.
Legault said Quebec wanted more autonomy, not less, and he accused the three parties of intervening in health-care matters, which fall within provincial jurisdiction.
On Monday, the Liberals won just enough seats to secure another minority government. As of Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., their candidates were either leading or elected in 158 ridings.
“I congratulate Justin Trudeau on his victory,” Legault wrote on Twitter. “I will work with him to advance the interests of Quebec.”
After winning 35 Quebec ridings in the previous federal election, the Liberals have lost some ground in the province and are on track to grab 33 seats this time.
However, despite Legault’s tacit endorsement of the Conservatives, that party failed to increase its footprint in Quebec and settled for the same number of seats it won in 2019.
In fact, the distribution of Quebec’s 78 seats was barely altered.
When asked why Legault’s comments did not lead to broader support in the province for his party, Conservative MP Gerard Deltell said the premier’s words may not have been top of mind for voters.
“It’s always tough, as I said, to point out some one element or one ballot question. I don’t think people in Quebec said, yesterday, at the ballot, ‘do I agree with Mr. Legault?’ that was not the case.”
“It was part of the debate, part of the reflection of the people, but it was not a ballot question.”
Speaking from Liberal headquarters late Monday night, Pablo Rodriguez, a Liberal MP for the Honoré-Mercier riding in Montreal’s east end, told Radio-Canada he was “surprised” and “disappointed” with Legault’s comments.
“We’ve delivered [for Quebec] more than any other government,” Rodriguez said, citing the recent $6-billion pledge for the province’s daycare system as an example, as well as an agreement to create more affordable housing.
Rodriguez also added that Legault’s comments will not affect the relationship between Quebec and the Liberal government.
“Mr. Legault was elected by Quebecers, I was elected by Quebecers, we represent the same people, and we want the success of those same people,” he said.
Legault is expected to meet with reporters this afternoon, and expand on his thoughts regarding the federal election.