MONTREAL – Quebec’s premier says she believes a gunman was trying to kill her on the night she was elected.
Pauline Marois told a television talk show that she initially didn’t realize what was happening in the chaos of the Sept. 4 shooting outside the Parti Quebecois victory rally.
She said it was only after she got home at the end of the night, while talking to her family, that she realized the shooter might have been aiming for her.
She said she now believes she was the target of a political assassination attempt.
“I believe it was an assassination attempt,” she said, using the French word, “attentat,” during an appearance on the Radio-Canada talk show “Tout le monde en parle.”
“I believe there was a political element to it.”
She referred to TV images of the suspected shooter, Richard Henry Bain, who shouted, “The English are waking up,” as he was arrested.
He is accused of shooting two people, and killing sound technician Denis Blanchette.
The shootings took place in back of the building, behind the stage where Marois was delivering her victory speech. A fire was also set outside the building.
Marois said on the talk show, which aired Sunday, that she left the stage, but came back because she wanted to calm the crowd.
She said she was afraid the crowd might panic, causing a stampede.
Marois had been whisked away by her security guards. She said the guards “weren’t very happy” with her decision to return to the stage to finish her speech.
She said that, at the event, she thought the shooter might have been randomly targeting people at the event. Marois explained that she later realized she might have been the intended target.
The Radio-Canada segment featured a wide-ranging discussion that touched on energy policy, tax hikes, and language.
In response to a question from the moderator, who asked whether Marois’ support for striking students earlier this year cost her a majority government she said, “Maybe.”
But she said she was being responsible by listening to the students and criticized the previous Liberal government for letting the social crisis fester.