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Seismic Shift: Canada’s Quebec Votes Right in Local Election

CC0 / / Quebec
Quebec - Sputnik International
Immigration and a renegotiated NAFTA deal with the US dominated the agenda of Monday’s elections in Canada’s mostly French-speaking province of Quebec.

The center-right Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ), led by 61-year-old businessman Francois Legault, was declared the victor, Reuters reported.

The business-friendly CAQ was ahead in 73 out of the 125 seats in the province’s legislature, with the Liberals trailing behind with just 32 seats.

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During this 39-day campaign, CAQ party leader Francois Legault promised to take in 10,000 fewer immigrants a year and to deport those who fail tests on French and Quebec values within three years.

He also criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government for its decision to open up the country’s dairy industry to the United States, and promised to look at “all options” to defend local farmers.

The CAQ’s victory would be a follow up to the recent shift to the right in Ontario where a progressive conservative government came to power in June, ending the Liberals’ longtime rule in the country’s most populous province.

The election in the mostly French-speaking province, home to the majority of Canada’s influential dairy farmers, came just a day after Canada agreed to give US dairy farmers access to about 3.5 percent of the country’s approximately $16 billion annual domestic dairy market as part of concessions made in a last-minute deal with Washington as part of a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement.

READ MORE:Quebec Premier Calls for Canada to Reconsider Milk Prices to Settle Row With US

Trade and immigration issues have pushed to the back burner arguments over separatism that have dominated politics in Quebec in recent decades with the separatist Parti Quebecois running virtually neck and neck with the left-leaning Quebec Solidaire in a race for the 12 parliamentary seats needed to obtain official party status.

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