Quebec Separatist Leader Rushed From Stage Amid Security Scare

by
Reuters
Security guards abruptly rushed the leader of Quebec's separatist party from the stage after an armed man shot and injured two people outside the Montreal venue where she was speaking.

Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois - whose party had just won a narrow victory in provincial elections - later returned to the stage to say a security incident was to blame.

RDI television showed pictures of police arresting a man w

Security guards abruptly rushed the leader of Quebec's separatist party from the stage after an armed man shot and injured two people outside the Montreal venue where she was speaking.

Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois - whose party had just won a narrow victory in provincial elections - later returned to the stage to say a security incident was to blame.

RDI television showed pictures of police arresting a man with a rifle outside the venue where Marois had been speaking. It also showed a large fire at the back of the building.

The separatist Parti Quebecois won a Quebec election on Tuesday but only gained enough seats for a minority government in the French-speaking Canadian province, effectively ruling out another referendum on independence.

Preliminary results showed the PQ won 56 of the 125 seats in the provincial legislature, ending nine years of rule by the Liberals. The results mean PQ leader Pauline Marois becomes the first female premier in the province's history.

"It's a historic moment for Quebecers. Every time a PQ government is elected ... it's a moment of national pride," Leo Bureau-Blouin, one of the party's victorious star candidates, told public broadcaster RDI.

Previous PQ governments held independence referendums in 1980 and 1995, but both failed.

Although Marois is promising another vote when the time is right, that could be years away. The most recent poll shows only 28 percent of Quebecers back separation from the rest of Canada.

The PQ would need the support of other legislators to hold a vote on splitting away from Canada and none of the major opposition parties backs the idea.

Marois has in any case said she would concentrate on the economy, in particular tackling the province's large debt, imposing higher tax and royalty rates on mining firms and making foreign takeovers of Quebec companies more difficult.

The results showed the Liberals had won 48 seats, down 16 from the 64 they held at dissolution. Premier Jean Charest, who lost his seat, emphasized that the PQ had only won a minority.

"The result of this election campaign speaks to the fact that the future of Quebec lies within Canada," he told supporters.

Initial results showed the PQ won 32 percent of the vote, compared to 31 percent for the Liberals.