A visibly choked-up master of ceremonies introduced the Parti Quebecois' last premier today to 350 cheering delegates in Drummondville.
Many crowded around Pauline Marois to hug and take pictures of her as she stepped to the stage.
She told the convention she had experienced the shock of being "the first," but had no regrets. "I will always remain that young woman who wanted to change the world.
She later deflected reporters' questions about what may have gone wrong during her time in power or her campaign.
"The results are what we know. I have no intention of going back over it."
Beware the Right
In an apparent reference to her party's drop in support from young people, she told her party that neither polling firms, nor editorialists, nor columnists would put words in the mouths of young people - a line that launched a wave of enthusiastic applause.
Young people are looking for "an ideal country," Marois said, telling party followers that youth have to be listened to.
And in a rare piece of advice, she also warned them against the right-wing fringe. She said the debt of some country's in Europe has lead them to limit their collective liberty.
"Quebec is not safe from this type of situation," she said.
Charter of Values
Without mentioning the charter directly, the PQ's last premier repeated that the principals of equality between men and women and the neutrality of the state have to be reaffirmed in Quebec's laws.
"Those who settle this question will do Quebec a great favour," she said.
After her final speech to the PQ troops as outgoing leader, Pauline Marois dropped a cryptic remark to reporters:
"I'm retired at this moment, but nothing is stopping me from leaving retirement one day," were her departing remarks.
A communications staffers later explained that she may pick up other projects, but a return to politics is out of the question.