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Harper reassures foreign investors in light of PQ victory

Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois returns to complete her speech after being whisked off the stage by security in Montreal, Que., September 4, 2012. With the win, Marois becomes the first female premier in Quebec history

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is reassuring foreign investors that Canada remains a sound bet for their attention despite the victory this week of a sovereigntist government in Quebec.

On Thursday, Mr. Harper said that while Quebeckers voted for change this week, they did not vote – given the results that saw the Parti Québécois win a narrow minority government – vote for sovereignty.

"It is clear they were denying any kind of a mandate to pursue the separation of Quebec," Mr. Harper said when pressed on the investment issue during an on-stage interview at a forum on Canada and Asia held by Bloomberg, the financial news and data service..

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"I think that mandate was clear. That's certainly how we interpreted it. That's how the government of Quebec will be forced to interpret it one way or another."

The Parti Québécois won a minority government in this week's vote, ending nine years of Liberal government in the province.

However, they have only 54 seats in the 125-seat Quebec National Assembly, compared to 50 for the Liberals, and 19 for the Coaltion Avenir Québec.

From those results, Mr. Harper said it appears clear that the people of Quebec don't want sovereignty.

"I am just looking at the results," said the Prime Minister during the event, which came as he was en route to Russia for this week's Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit..

While the Prime Minister issued a statement following Tuesday's election, his remarks were his first public comments on the outcome of the vote.

The Prime Minister said he has told Quebec premier-designate Pauline Marois that he is willing to work with any province on economic issues such as job creation, but did not characterize her response.

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