Quebec Elections: Centre-right CAQ takes province including Arctic Ungava riding

The village of Kuujjuaq, the most populous Inuit community in Ungava, Quebec’s northernmost provincial riding.   (Eilis Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)
The Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) party swept  provincial elections on Monday winning its first ever majority, including the Arctic riding of Ungava.

The most recent numbers from Elections Quebec Tuesday morning had the CAQ with 74 seats, well over the 63 needed to form a majority, crushing the Liberal Party of Quebec (32 seats) and the Parti Quebecois (9 seats), the two parties that have dominated Quebec Politics since the 1970s. Quebec Solidaire came in third with 10 seats.

A map of Quebec’s Ungava riding. Voter turnout was 30.9 per cent in the 2018 provincial elections. (Elections Quebec)

CAQ candidate Denis Lamothe, a former Quebec provincial police officer who worked in the North, won the riding of Ungava, Quebec’s northernmost riding, with 2,271 votes, ahead of Parti Quebecois candidate Jonathan Mattson (2,226 votes), and Liberal Party incumbent Jean Boucher (2,138 votes)

Boucher had held the riding since 2014,  prior to that, it had been held by the Parti Quebecois every year since the riding’s inception in 1980.

Ungava is the largest geographical riding in Quebec covering around 850,000 square kilometres, but also has one of the smallest riding populations in the province.  There were 28, 314 registered voters in the riding for the 2018 elections. It has a diverse population that includes several First Nations communities, along with Nunavik, the Inuit region that spans Arctic Quebec.

The most recent figures from Elections Quebec Tuesday morning put voter turnout in Ungava at 30.9 per cent.

Increased self-determination for Nunavik?

During the campaign, CAQ leader Francois Legault talked about the need for better jobs and education in Ungava and the need for nation to nation agreements between the government of Quebec and the Inuit and First Nations of the province.

In a Q&A this September with Makivik Corporation, the Inuit land claims organization in Nunavik, CAQ candidate Denis Lamothe said the Quebec government needed to stop making decisions for Inuit, and instead support Inuit-led initiatives in the region.

Quebec 2018: Ungava results

WINNER: Coalition Avenir Quebec – Denis Lamothe: 26.5% of the vote

Parti Quebecois –  Jonathan Mattson:  25.97% of the vote

INCUMBENT: Liberal Party – Jean Boucher: 24.94% of the vote

Quebec Solidaire – Alisha Tukkiapik: 16.54% of the vote

Conservative Party of Quebec – Alexandre Croteau: 2.22% of the vote

Green Party – Cristina Roos: 2.14% of the vote

New Democratic Party of Quebec –  Louis R. Couture: 1.69% of the vote

Source: Elections Quebec 

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Joe Savikataaq becomes the new premier of Nunavut, in Northern Canada, Radio Canada International

FinlandFinnish PM concerned by far-right party’s results in Swedish elections, Yle News

Greenland: Greenland braces for coalition talks to cut through election result murk, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Rebel region in Arctic Norway slams door on Oslo government, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Talks continue as Sweden wonders who will be the next prime minister, Radio Sweden

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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