CAQ wave carries away Stéphane Billette

Par Mario Pitre
CAQ wave carries away Stéphane Billette

The Huntingdon riding, once a stronghold for the Quebec Liberal Party, is now in the hands of the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) after Claire Isabelle rode a province-wide wave of support to victory over the incumbent Stéphane Billette.
Nervous faces began gathering at a restaurant in St-Chrysostome as results began rolling in shortly after the polls closed. The room was still empty when the call predicting a CAQ majority was announced: it was so early into an evening many had expected to go long into the night. As Liberal ridings in the region fell one after the other to the CAQ, it seemed the writing was on the wall for the outgoing MNA and Minister for Small and Medium Enterprises, Regulatory Streamlining and Regional Economic Development.
In the end, Claire Isabelle won with 10,785 votes or 37.4% of ballots cast to 10,192 votes or 35.3% for Stéphane Billette. Québec Solidaire also made some headway in the riding with candidate Aiden Hodgins Ravensbergen recording 3,657 votes or 12.7% of the popular vote. As in the rest of the province, the Parti Québecois saw its position in the riding shrink to fourth place with Huguette Hébert receiving 3,182 votes or 11 percent. The candidate for the Green Party of Quebec, Victoria Mary Haliburton, received 506 votes for 1.8% of the popular vote.
Head held high
”I was able to do ten years because of all of you,” said a very composed but emotional Stéphane Billette to a sombre room packed with devout supporters. He offered his heartfelt thanks to his team, his riding association, his wife and their two children before sharing how proud he was of the many accomplishments achieved in the riding over the last decade. He reminisced about his exceptional time as an MNA and his ride through the ranks of the Liberal Party, becoming the youngest whip in Quebec history and a well-respected minister all while maintaining a strong presence in the riding. “You can take a man out of politics but you can’t take politics out of a man,” he reminded the crowd, saying he was as committed as ever to the county and that he will continue to be involved in the area. “We are living in a democracy and people have their reasons,” he suggested, while wishing Claire Isabelle the best of luck in her tenure as MNA.
“I am happy with what we were able to do,” he continued, suggesting his greatest contribution to the riding, and what he will be taking away from his experience over the last ten years was the opportunity to work so closely with the people of Huntingdon County. “We can be very proud.”

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