Quebec’s premiere-elect pulled from stage after gun threat
MONTREAL: Quebec’s next premiere Pauline Marois was pulled offstage by bodyguards during her victory speech late Tuesday after an apparent gun threat.
Television footage showed a man with a rifle being arrested near the concert hall in Montreal, the capital of the French-speaking province, which held parliamentary elections on Tuesday.
Police confirmed that an individual had been arrested who had fired a gun during a midnight victory rally for Quebec’s new premier, killing one person and wounding another.
It was not clear if the gunman was trying to shoot Marois, whose party favors separation for the French-speaking province from Canada.
Police identified the gunman only as a 50-year-old man. Police say he set a small fire behind the building before he was captured.
Marois returned to the stage after the shooting and asked the crowd to peacefully disperse.
Police say they don’t know the gunman’s motive, but say the suspect, while being dragged toward the police cruiser, shouted in French, ”The English are waking up!”
Marois’s separatist Parti Quebecois was projected to have won the poll, ousting Premier Jean Charest and his Liberal party following months of corruption allegations and student demonstrations over a planned tuition hike.
Marois, 63, is thus poised to become the province’s first-ever woman premier.
She heads a party favoring independence from Canada, but is not expected to push for secession in the near future, as voters seemed more intent on ousting the unpopular Liberals than pursuing independence.
The incident Tuesday night occurred after Marois said that “the future of Quebec is to be a sovereign country.”