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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Voters impressed that lack of sovereignty discussion created meaningful debate

CTV Montreal
Published Tuesday, September 18, 2018 10:57AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 18, 2018 6:51PM EDT

With the fear of a referendum on Quebec's independence off the table, the first-ever televised English-language debate among political leaders created interesting discussions on other policies that concern voters.

Concordia University students watching Monday's debate said that gave anglophones more choices -- although they noted that many students at Montreal's English universities are francophones.

"I think the fact that there's an English debate this year shows a lot about wanting to bring anglophones into the group of more democratically active people," said one student.

The president of the Quebec Community Groups Network said the fact that the leaders debated in English is a great sign for the anglophone community.

Geoffrey Chambers said all four leaders brought up issues that concern everyone across the province -- not just anglophones -- such as health care and education.

"[Francois] Legault was very clear that he was going to reform school boards and get rid of our school boards so I think there is a strong feeling in our community against that move so I think that will be an important consideration. I think while he reached out the community in many ways Lisée talked about separation being the goal and so that will be a consideration for our community," said Chambers.

"[Philippe] Couillard made a good case that he's responded to the community but he's also got to be answerable for a lot of things that haven't got done. Manon Massé I think is more of a marginal kind of pitch but there are people very strongly in favour of her environmental position and some of her economic policies so they all have their points of appeal."

While the students were used to hearing from and reading about political leaders in French, they were impressed at the quality of the English spoken.

"As an anglo we've almost been politically programmed to count these people out because of petty language struggles," said a journalism and political science student.

"The surprise was that Mr. Lisée did a really good job, and Madame Massé I think has done a really good job representing students who I think they're not really going after."

Political analyst Antonia Maioni also said that voters were not judging people on their language skills, but their willingness to participate.

"[Massé] apologized at some points for her lack of skills, but she was actually quite forceful and she brought the debate home to issues that matter for Quebec Solidaire," said Maioni.

Maioni said that overall, the debate played to Couillard's strengths.

"He spoke to his English language viewers by bringing the conversation and the debate back to issues that mattered and positions that mattered for English-language communities across Quebec. But he also stayed on message, really tightly on message, and that's going to be importent in the way that francophone voters interpret this debate," said Maioni.

A key concern for many was the focus on immigration, while others were more interested in the environmental impact of the future government.

Others said the debate shows that many in Quebec are still wrongly worried about the use of English in Quebec.

"I would never consider the PQ but from somebody who keeps saying he cares about anglophones - it's disappointing," said another student.

Overall those watching were not concerned about the linguistic mastery of those speaking in their second language, but were grateful the leaders showed the willingness to try.

"I think it was really interesting seeing the leaders debate in English for the first time. It made them really relatable in my opinion," said a student.

Massé, who struggled the most to speak fluently, was able to get her points across and convince voters .

"I am more or less decided for Quebec Solidaire at the moment.," said one anglo student.

"I don't identify as a sovereignist but for myself and others I've talked to that we're sort of sick of being pigeonholed as that being the only issue on the table and it's an election where there are other issues."

All four parties agreed to the debate earlier in the summer, when polls showed the CAQ and the Liberals were very close in terms of widespread support, although Parti Quebecois leader Jean-Francois Lisée was the first to agree.

Quebec Solidaire asked if Massé, who did not speak fluent English, could be replaced by her co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau Dubois, who is fluent, but that request was refused by the other parties.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( some new polls have the CAQ down although the liberals have not benefitted much , mostly the PQ and Quebec Solidaire who have made gains , leading to possibly a more deadlocked legislature than anyone first though possible )

Quebec election blog Sept. 18: New poll indicates François Legault's CAQ is losing steam

With less than two weeks remaining in the election campaign, the CAQ and the Liberals are in a dead heat, though the CAQ is still ahead among crucial francophone voters.

Andy Riga
Updated: September 18, 2018

16 hours ago

4:28 pm

Andy Riga

The Coalition Avenir Québec is losing steam, according to a new poll conducted by Léger for TVA.

François Legault’s CAQ started the campaign with a comfortable lead.

The new poll, conducted between Friday and Monday, indicates that, with less than two weeks remaining in the campaign, the CAQ and the Liberals are in a dead-heat.

The CAQ has dropped four percentage points in a week, with the Liberals gaining one point, and Québec solidaire gaining three points.

The latest standings:
•CAQ – 31 per cent;
•Liberals – 30 per cent;
•Parti Québécois – 21 per cent;
•Québec solidaire – 14 per cent.

A Léger poll conducted during the first week of the campaign found:
•CAQ – 37 per cent
•Liberals – 32 per cent
•PQ – 19 per cent
•QS – 8 per cent.

Despite the overall drop, the new poll indicates the CAQ still leads among crucial francophone voters, who are the majority in most Quebec ridings. Thirty-six per cent of francophone respondents told Léger they’ll vote CAQ, ahead of the Parti Québécois (26 per cent).

The poll found Quebecers divided on what has become a key question during the debate – should the province cut the number of immigrants?

Forty-five per cent said Quebec should accept fewer newcomers, 39 per cent said the levels should remain the same and eight per cent said more immigrants should be welcomed.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good information. It is important to get an insight into what is really happening in the interaction of the groups at this moment, two weeks before the actual election day.

For people who have not made up their mind, the factors in their choice get more "real" as the election gets closer. It's not rational in the sense that making a choice involves the facts plus the individual's own fears and desires. Mostly fears.

That's why understanding how the undecided are reacting at the moment of decision is important. It gives you the priorities of that part of the population.

It would be really good to follow this as closely as we, les maudits are able.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Independence off ballot, but Quebec’s sovereigntist parties gaining

By Kevin Dougherty. Published on Sep 19, 2018 2:54pm

Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

This Quebec election was supposed to be the first since 1970 without the spectre of sovereignty on the ballot.

But with less than two weeks to go before Quebec’s Oct. 1 election, polls indicate that the combined support for the Parti Québécois and Québec solidaire is between 35 and 39 per cent.

Meanwhile, the resolutely federalist Quebec Liberals and François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec, which is resigned to Quebec staying in Canada, are in a virtual tie, with about 30 per cent each in a Leger poll conducted Sept. 14-17.

The latest Mainstreet poll has the Liberals and CAQ tied at 29 per cent.

Faced with a minority government, a combined PQ-QS sovereigntist bloc could sway the direction of the next Quebec legislature.

Mainstreet gauges Québec solidaire’s support at 17 per cent, three points higher than the Leger projection, and PQ support at 22 per cent, giving the two parties favouring sovereignty a combined 39-per-cent total.

Going into this election, the CAQ seemed poised to form a majority government, with the support of Quebecers ready for change after 15 years of Liberal rule since 2003, with the exception of a 20-month PQ interregnum from September 2012 until April 2014. But the CAQ has not fired the imagination of Quebecers.

Philippe Couillard’s Liberals are not imploding, as the Ontario Liberals did. But they’re a long way from the nearly 42 per cent they won in 2014.

Campaigning on sound management, the party is boasting of budget surpluses and is pointing to a booming economy.

The CAQ is drawing votes from Quebecers displeased with Liberal spending cuts — the price for balancing the budget — and a major shakeup in health care that has left patients and medical staff disgruntled.

With Quebec’s financial house in order, Couillard says his government can now spend more on education and health care, and can add new services to make life easier for Quebecers.

The Liberal leader points to staff shortages across the province to argue against Legault’s plan to reduce the number of immigrants Quebec accepts each year, saying immigration will be the key ballot question in this election.

“With the labour shortage that we’re experiencing, is it appropriate to propose a reduction in the number of workers coming from elsewhere?” Couillard asked.

“That’s the real question.”

Legault’s argument for less immigration is protection for Quebec’s French character.

“There is a risk our grandchildren will no longer speak French,” he said on a campaign stop. “I don’t want to be blamed for that.”

Legault would compel immigrants to pass tests on their knowledge of Quebec values and the French language. They would lose eligibility for citizenship if they failed.

During Quebec’s first televised leaders’ debate in English, Couillard hammered Legault on his “expulsion tests.”

“I’m going to say it to you very calmly,” the Liberal leader said. “Your policy is unacceptable.”

Unprompted, PQ Leader Jean-François Lisée jumped in, telling Legault, “You just know so little about immigration.”

Lisée hopes more CAQ voters will rally to the PQ.

But Lisée gave Legault a chance to challenge the Liberals when he took sovereignty off the ballot for this election.

Reading the polls, Lisée understood that at least two-thirds of Quebecers never want to hear the word “referendum” again.

The PQ campaign this time is about a change in government, with the promise of no referendum until a second PQ mandate after the 2022 Quebec election.

When this election was called, the PQ was below 20 per cent in the polls and at risk of disappearing in the face of a possible CAQ wave and further QS inroads.

Polls at the beginning of this campaign suggested voters wanted change, but many remained undecided or were ready to switch from their initial choice.

Lisée’s campaign seems to have drawn enough voters away from the CAQ to get his support above 20 per cent, but the PQ doesn’t appear to be gaining votes from prospective QS voters.

Manon Massé, the QS co-spokesperson whom the party has designated to be premier, should they win this election, says QS is drawing voters away from the CAQ.

The CAQ proposes tax cuts, a rollback of doctors’ salaries and trimming $1.5 billion in “government fat.”

The QS program calls for higher taxes for big business, a rollback of doctors’ salaries and universal pharmacare.

These measures would pay for free dental care for all, and free education from daycare to doctorates.

Massé has been a calm force, participating in the leaders’ debate without brawling.

Her fellow co-spokesperson, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, has been trying to win voters for QS beyond its Montreal base by organizing under the media radar.

Nadeau-Dubois was co-spokesperson for — not leader of, he insisted — the most militant student group in Quebec’s 2012 Maple Spring tuition dispute.

Nadeau-Dubois joined QS last year and brought with him many Maple Spring organizers.

The polls suggest that Taschereau, the Quebec City riding that has been the sole PQ seat in the provincial capital, could go QS this time.

In the past, Lisée has tried to bring QS back into the PQ fold, but the Charter of Quebec Values, proposed by the short-lived PQ government of Pauline Marois, has poisoned relations between the two left-leaning parties.

Lisée made a final effort last year by proposing an agreement for QS and the PQ to run candidates unopposed by the other sovereigntist party in ridings where their chances were best.

The QS membership shot down that proposal, with some QS supporters casting the PQ, not the Liberals or the CAQ, as their main adversary.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CAQ threatening Liberal dynasty in Papineau

Latest polls show 2 rivals neck and neck in traditional Liberal stronghold

Amanda Pfeffer · CBC News · Posted: Sep 20, 2018 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: 4 hours ago

Signs of disquiet: Polls show Coalition Avenir Québec candidate Mathieu Lacombe threatening the Liberals' 40-year lock on the western Quebec riding of Papineau. (Amanda Pfeffer/CBC)


Polls suggest the riding of Papineau in western Quebec could be prime for a change after 40 years of sending a Liberal to the province's National Assembly.

"Papineau does have the potential to swing over to the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ)," said CBC pollster Eric Grenier.

Even the Liberal incumbent, Alexandre Iracà, conceded his internal polling shows the race is tight.

Iracà​ has no intention of giving up without a fight, however. He recently made a $170-million campaign promise to widen another 23-kilometre stretch of highway 50, one of the biggest irritants among voters in the region.

But even that promise may not be enough to seal the deal for the Liberals in Papineau.

Incumbent Alexandre Iracà, right, listens to outdoor market owner Pierre Chapdelaine speak during a campaign event where the Liberals announced a plan to widen another stretch of Autoroute 50. (Amanda Pfeffer/CBC)

Liberal lock slipping?

The Liberal Party has held all five western Quebec ridings since 1976.

This time, with polls predicting change across the province, Papineau voters are telling pollsters they're flirting with the idea as well.

That's despite Iracà's convincing win of 50 per cent of the vote in 2014, with his CAQ rival coming in third behind the Parti Québécois candidate.

It was a much closer race in the 2012 election when Iracà​ won the riding with fewer than 200 votes.

"So it isn't an area where you'd expect to see a flip, but because of Papineau's history as sometimes a close riding, and its predominantly Francophone population, it does give the CAQ a chance to pick up one seat in west Quebec," Grenier said.

CAQ eyeing Papineau

The CAQ has had its eye on Papineau. Leader François Legault made an early appearance in the riding, using the local candidate's campaign launch to announce plans for a new hospital to serve the region.

The candidate, Mathieu Lacombe, is already known to voters as a former TVA host.

CAQ candidate Mathieu Lacombe, a former television personality, acknowledges he benefits from name recognition on the campaign trail. (Amanda Pfeffer/CBC)

During a door-knocking campaign in the town of Chénéville​, Lacombe said his public profile doesn't hurt.

"Sure, it's easier to begin the conversation because of my past as a reporter and journalist, but this is not what will make me win this election," he said.

At the door, he's quick to highlight the CAQ leader's embrace of federalism.

"The idea of [whether] Quebec should be a country is not very popular here. I understand that," Lacombe said.

PQ still relevant?

The Parti Québécois candidate, Yves Destroismaisons, said his party is prepared to address both health and education issues in the region, with a focus on attracting the right staffing.

At the door, he said he hears horror stories about voters trying to access health and community services in the riding's rural communities.

Destroismaisons tells voters not to count the party out, despite its poor polling this campaign.

Parti Québécois candidate Yves Destroismaisons makes his pitch to voters in Saint-André-Avellin, where he was also a candidate for mayor. (Amanda Pfeffer/CBC)

Destroismaisons, a former candidate for mayor of Saint-André-Avellin in 2017, is using the party's history of introducing progressive programs such as cheaper daycare to sway voters. To stand out further, he tells voters the Liberals and CAQ are interchangeable, pointing out that several candidates have switched between the two parties.

The candidate for Québec Solidaire, Mélanie Pilon-Gauvin, said she's hearing from a lot of undecided voters at the door.

"People are telling me they don't know for which party they will vote for," said Destroismaisons. "But they say they want change."


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

September 19, 2018 5:06 pm Updated: September 19, 2018 5:44 pm

CAQ candidates rally behind leader ahead of final Quebec debate

By Sidhartha Banerjee The Canadian Press

With Coalition Avenir Québec Leader François Legault on the sidelines ahead of Thursday’s crucial final debate, it was left to a collection of prominent candidates to rally behind him Wednesday.

Legault has been under fire in recent days over his party’s immigration proposals but candidate Sonia LeBel said confidence in their leader hasn’t wavered.

She said a Montreal news conference featuring some of the party’s most recognizable faces was all about putting his team on display.

As candidates talked about hiking the legal age for cannabis consumption to 21 and tightly controlling where it can be consumed, questions eventually came back to their leader’s whereabouts on Day 28 of the 39-day campaign.

“We are here today because we are part of a team, Mr. Legault has a team and that’s what we wanted to emphasize,” said LeBel, a former prosecutor.

“It’s not a question of him being absent, it’s a question of the team showing up.”

Legault has been the target of his opponents for repeatedly stating his government would kick out immigrants if they don’t pass a French test after three years in the province.

Most of Quebec’s major political leaders had lighter schedules ahead of the debate, but Legault’s absence was notable one day after a poll suggested CAQ support was slipping slightly.

Former Montreal police officer Ian Lafrenière, who is running for the CAQ in a riding south of the city, described Legault as the “man for the job.”

“A strong leader has a strong team and he believes in his team,” he said.

“It’s not a one-man show.”

The party was also fending off allegations it was attempting to tightly control messaging, after Quebec Le Soleil reported that a candidate’s representatives sought questions 24 hours in advance of a possible interview.

CAQ spokesman Mathieu St-Amand chalked it up to “clumsiness” on the part of campaign staff for the candidate in the riding of Matane-Matapedia.

The newspaper said staff wanted the questions a day in advance so the party could decide whether to authorize the interview.

For her part, LeBel said she’d never heard of such a practice.

“If you insinuate that there is a control, I have never felt it, not one of my colleagues have ever felt, and I doubt that it exists,” she said.

Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée also played it low-key Wednesday, giving just a handful of interviews to local media and leaving deputy leader Véronique Hivon to announce the party’s promise to spend an additional $2.3 billion to upgrade Quebec schools.

In northwestern Quebec, Quebec Liberal Party Leader Philippe Couillard visited local employers in Val-d’Or and Rouyn-Noranda to tackle the issue of labour shortages, saying it would make sense to target Indigenous communities to fill the void.

He didn’t offer a way of doing so, but stressed the importance of respecting cultural differences and bringing people together.

One local chief expressed skepticism at Couillard’s plan.

Lance Haymond said a number of hurdles remain for his people to get hired — beginning with a language barrier in communities where people speak English. There’s also a lack of training and transportation issues given the great distances between cities and reserves.

Québec Solidaire‘s co-spokesperson, Manon Massé, sought to reassure the business community in a speech to Montreal’s chamber of commerce, saying the ultimate goal of the left-wing party is to socialize the economy to make it more equitable.

Quebecers go to the polls Oct. 1.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quebec election debate: Coalition leader softens tone on immigration

Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, September 20, 2018 8:55PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 20, 2018 10:00PM EDT

MONTREAL -- Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault used the last leaders' debate before the Oct. 1 provincial election to soften his tone regarding his controversial position to expel immigrants who fail a French-language test.

The question of immigration has dogged Legault over the past couple of weeks and he has seen his party's lead in the polls slowly vanish since the start of the campaign.

His answers to questions about how immigrants who fail a French test would be expelled from Quebec have not been clear -- and his opponents have jumped on his stance to paint him as heartless toward newcomers.

"I am not perfect," Legault said directly to Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard in Thursday's televised debate. "It happens, I make mistakes, when I answer certain questions on immigration.

"I listen, and I correct my mistakes."

Legault didn't specify exactly what he was talking about, nor did he renounce his position that newcomers should be forced to pass a French and values test if they want to stay in the province and become a citizen.

But he did brandish a new line that he subsequently used two more times during the debate.

"The only people I want to expel are the Liberals!" he said.

After the testy exchange on immigration, the theme turned to another thorny issue: the secular nature of the Quebec state.

Three of the four parties who have seats in the legislature want to ban certain state employees from wearing religious symbols on the job such as the hijab or the turban.

Legault, in a one-on-one exchange with Couillard, accused the Liberal leader of ignoring the wishes of the majority of Quebecers.

Polls indicate most citizens in the province want the state to ban people such as police officers and judges from wearing religious symbols at work.

"Do you want a police officer to wear a hijab?" Legault asked Couillard, noting that people in positions of authority should be dressed in a religiously neutral way.

Couillard responded by asking Legault, "Why do you want to remove people's rights?"

Legault shot back: "Why do you ignore the majority of Quebecers?"

Because a society has to respect and defend its minorities and not legislate based on polls, Couillard said.

"How many police officers are wearing hijabs right now?" Couillard asked, knowing the answer is zero.

Legault responded: "A premier needs to foresee. It's going to happen."

Following the exchanges on immigration and secularism, the leaders squared off on the economy.

Manon Masse, a co-spokesperson for the left-wing Quebec solidaire, said wealth begins with people at the bottom of the ladder.

"There are people who try to live on $12 an hour," said Masse, whose party wants to immediately increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. "We have to create good jobs and improve working conditions for everyone."

Legault suggested, "we have to let the laws of the market play and not force things."

The debate moderator then asked the leaders how they would protect companies from the impact of U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum and cope with threats by U.S. President Donald Trump to tear up NAFTA.

Couillard said Trump wants to "impose his way on the world."

"He negotiates in different ways than we understand," he said. "There has to be one winner and the other has to completely fail.

"All Quebecers must defend their farmers and dairy producers," Couillard added, referring to reported demands by the Trump administration for Canada to give up its system for protecting some farmers from foreign competition.

At the start of the debate, Couillard was forced right away to fend off attacks from Legault over doctors' salaries.

Doctor specialists in Quebec make more than $450,000 a year, leaving little money for nurses and other workers in the health-care network, Legault said.

"He just doesn't understand," Legault said about Couillard. "Doctors (in the province) are the best paid in Canada, but nurses are underpaid. It's shameful."

Couillard responded by saying the salaries translate into "more services to citizens."

Following that exchange, Parti Quebecois Leader Jean-Francois Lisee began attacking Masse over her political formation's uncommon leadership style.

Quebec solidaire has no official leaders but has Masse and Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois as co-spokespersons -- and Masse looked somewhat frustrated that Lisee didn't want to speak about health care, the first theme of the debate.

"Who pulls the strings in Quebec solidaire?" Lisee asked, ignoring pleas from the debate moderator for him to stick to the subject.

Masse answered that in her party, "we learned how to share power."

Two previous debates -- one in French and one in English -- didn't have any clear winners, although a Mainstreet poll indicated respondents preferred Lisee's performance in the first French debate by a few percentage points over that of the three other leaders.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quebec election update: $1 million donated and leaders united in Gatineau

'I'll do what I would do if we weren't in a campaign, I'll go show my solidarity with the people who were affected,' the PQ leader said.

Christopher Curtis, Montreal Gazette
Updated: September 22, 2018

GATINEAU — Hours after a tornado ripped through Gatineau, two rivals put political differences aside to visit the disaster zone Saturday morning.

Jean-François Lisée and Philippe Couillard walked shoulder to shoulder through a neighbourhood covered in debris.

Roofing, broken glass and bricks lay scattered across the street, the storm ripped balconies from apartment buildings and forced hundreds from their homes.

“Today our presence here is about showing our solidarity,” said Lisée, the leader of the Parti Québécois. “People saw their roofs blown away, they saw their walls crumble, they feared for their lives.

“We can campaign tomorrow but today we’re here for them, we’re here to say all of Quebec is here with you.”

Couillard, the incumbent Liberal premier, announced a $1 million donation from the government to the Red Cross to make sure people displaced by the tornado have somewhere to stay over the weekend.

There were about 1,600 people forced from their homes overnight, according to Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin. As of Saturday morning, over 600 people were still in emergency shelters or staying with family.

Couillard said it was a miracle that, given the scale of storm, no one sustained life-threatening injuries or died.

“It is affecting to see that, many of the people forced from their homes, they’re not exactly at the top of the economic ladder,” he said. “It’s like they’ve been hit twice: They’re less fortunate than others and now they’ve been hit by this storm.”

Stéphane Tremblay was cleaning out his mother’s apartment Friday when the wind gusts started to roll through. He says he looked out the window and saw roof shingles begin to fly before deciding to take cover behind a wall.

“A stick flew right through the window and everything shattered,” said Tremblay. “There was glass everywhere.”

Tremblay’s mother recently passed away but his aunt, who lives in the same building, is staying with a relative until she’s allowed back into her home.

After massive flooding in May 2017 and torrential rain last spring and fall, this is the fourth major weather event to hit Gatineau in the past 16 months.

Lisée and Couillard said this highlights the need for political parties to fight climate change.

Meanwhile, Coalition Avenir Québec’s François Legault cancelled his scheduled activities Saturday to meet those affected by the storm. A representative for Québec solidaire said co-spokesperson Manon Massé would also be heading to the Ottawa-Gatineau area.

Hydro-Québec technicians and first responders are still on the scene, working to clear the wreckage and restore power to the tens of thousands still in the dark.

Asked if the presence of politicians and dozens of journalists might actually harm these efforts, Mayor Pedneaud-Jobin said he was heartened by their presence.

“You can’t underestimate what it means — in the middle of an electoral campaign — to see the leaders on the ground,” said Pedneaud-Jobin. “It sends a great message of solidarity.

“There’s also a direct communication with (the premier and MNAs) that helps. There’s a difference between directing a crisis from an office and being here on the ground.”

As the leaders left the disaster zone, one resident shouted epithets at them, telling them to “get the f—k out of here!” Some voiced frustration at the unfolding crisis given that many are still recovering from last year’s flood.

Lisée acknowledged there’s work to be done in the government’s long-term response but insisted that the immediate response to the tornado has been “excellent.”

“It’s been lightning-quick,” he said. “There’s a solidarity among Quebecers — of all political stripes — that’s incredible to see in times like these.”

After visiting a local high school and emergency command centre, Lisée hopped back on his bus and headed to Montreal to resume his campaign.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A distinctly Quebec affair: The province’s election is like nowhere else in Canada

By Giuseppe Valiante. Published on Sep 23, 2018 9:57pm

MONTREAL — At a downtown Montreal hotel last week, Quebec solidaire co-spokesperson Manon Masse looked out at members of the city’s business community and calmly declared she wanted a revolution.

Across Canada, many political parties at the provincial and federal level have less-than-mainstream views. But in Quebec, Masse’s “revolutionary” party held three seats in the legislature at dissolution, has a good chance of winning more on Oct. 1 and has become a fixture in televised leaders’ debates.

In a campaign where sovereignty is not a defining issue, the prominence of Quebec solidaire is just one example of how the election remains a distinctly Quebec affair. Issues of Quebec identity have dominated the campaign. There is broad consensus on the need to cut carbon emissions. And none of the main parties can be considered traditionally conservative.

Masse’s Sept. 19 speech was the first time a Quebec solidaire leader had been invited to address the Montreal Board of Trade, the embodiment of the capitalism her party pledges “to leave behind.” Board president Michel Leblanc got right to the point, asking her if her party is “socialist revolutionary.”

“Revolutionary — certainly,” Masse responded.

She balked at the “socialist” label, but Quebec solidaire’s platform includes the total or partial nationalization of Quebec’s banking system as well as its mining and forestry industries. Its financial plan seeks to collect almost $13 billion more a year from the “super-rich” and large corporations.

Even its leadership structure diverges from politics as usual: there are no “leaders” in Quebec solidaire. Rather, the party has one female and one male “spokesperson.”

Identity has been a recurring theme in the campaign. Francois Legault, leader of the Coalition Avenir Quebec, is running on reducing immigration to the province and expelling newcomers who cannot pass French-language and Quebec values tests three years after arriving.

All main parties except the Liberals want to prohibit state employees in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols.

“We have the right to defend our values,” Legault said recently when challenged on his policy to prohibit police officers from wearing the hijab.

“We even have the duty to do so as Quebec premier, to defend our identity.”

For his part, Parti Quebecois Leader Jean-Francois Lisee is proposing to force anglophone junior-college students to attend a francophone institution for one semester.

While those divisive positions might disqualify political leaders elsewhere in the country, francophone Quebecers are highly attuned to their demographic weight inside the province and within Canada.

The preservation of the French language and the Quebecois culture is almost primordial, says Jan Doering, a sociology professor at McGill University.

“There is a stronger wish of the Quebecois to root themselves in a shared history, compared with the rest of Canada,” said Doering, who is orginally from Germany and whose research focuses on issues of race, ethnicity and migration.

And while the Quebec election might be unique in the country in that regard, Doering said it is similar to European campaigns where “concerns with immigration, integration and how to maintain identities” are common.

“That’s something I saw very little of in (Ontario),” he said. “I think Quebec is more normal — just not in the Canadian context.”

The economic and social concepts of “right” versus “left” are also different in Quebec.

Leaders rarely talk of personal responsibility and small government; instead, all four major parties champion a strong state with a responsibility to take care of its people with well-financed public institutions.

Legault’s Coalition promises to lower taxes and reduce bureaucracy in the civil service, and the Liberals under Philippe Couillard promise to continue balancing budgets — but both are careful to avoid sounding too enthusiastic about a greater role for the private sector.

Michel Magnan, the Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair in Corporate Governance at Concordia University, says Masse’s party might be considered far-left in 2018, but many of its ideas have roots in the European socialist parties of the 1960s and 70s, as well as the federal NDP.

Since then, he said, traditional European socialist parties have abandoned earlier commitments to nationalize industry. And in 2013, the NDP voted to remove most references to “socialism” from the party’s constitution, including the support of “social ownership.”

“It’s almost like we’re in a time warp here,” Magnan said about Quebec solidaire.

Quebec’s distinctiveness is also reflected in the four parties’ approach to protecting the environment.

The only party that dares suggest Quebec exit the carbon market is Quebec solidaire — but that’s because it thinks the cap-and-trade system is too capitalist. None of the major party leaders have shed a tear for the recently cancelled Energy East pipeline project that was to transport crude from Alberta, through Quebec, to New Brunswick.

Back at the Board of Trade, Leblanc said his members wanted to invite Masse, in part, because her party was consistently polling above 10 per cent in opinion polls and they were curious.

“The business community doesn’t think she’ll form the next government … but the ideas in her program would have, potentially, a very negative impact on investment decisions, decisions for job creation,” he said. Nonetheless, the audience was courteous.

“There were people who clapped,” Leblanc said. “I would say, some out of politeness, and others because there were members of her party who came and were happy with her speech.”


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The situation with the CAQ is an interesting one;

Is the Province of Quebec genuinely interested in more Conservative fiscal policy or is this just a brief flirtation to instruct the Liberals to get back on the path as we saw in 2007 which was almost immediately rejected in 2008 with the ADQ?

It will also be interesting to see if the PQ and QS result in the destruction of each other with split votes in urban areas.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I see is a population in ferment. They arent stable because they are looking for solutions. Perhaps they are simply becoming more practical about their finances. I think that's what's on the agenda, regardless of party -- bringing fiscal order back is also on the agenda in Ontario, and that's simply because of the wretched excesses of the previous gang.

They are in ferment in other ways as well. As I see it, they know a Quebec nation will be a small marginal place, probably like a Carribean Island tax shelter. 7 million people isn't enough anymore.

It's time for English-speaking Canada to make an enduring deal ... a cultural understanding that agrees on a national vision of some sort. We Anglos aren't going to become bi-lingual, and we aren't always going to restrict our leadership pool to those who enrolled in French immersion out of kindergarten. This pattern isn't working, it can't go on.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quebec drifts toward minority government

By Kevin Dougherty. Published on Sep 24, 2018 1:51pm

It's likely Quebec’s next administration will be a minority government led by François Legault, who formed his Coalition Avenir Québec party just seven years ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

In one week, Quebec voters will elect 125 members to the province’s 42nd legislature.

And after a campaign in which no party has emerged a clear favourite, it’s likely Quebec’s next administration will be a minority government led by François Legault, who formed his Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) party just seven years ago.

Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard, campaigning for a second mandate, has pointed to Quebec’s balanced budget and the strong economy under his stewardship. But the unpopularity of Gaétan Barrette, his outgoing health minister, and Quebecers’ desire for change, appear to have scuttled Liberal chances.

A CAQ minority, relying on support from Quebec’s two sovereigntist parties, the Parti Québécois and Québec solidaire, could herald a new era in the province, with minority government a new norm.

Last May at a Quebec National Assembly ceremony, Legault, PQ Leader Jean-François Lisée, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, representing Québec solidaire, and Green Party Leader Alex Tyrrell signed a commitment to bring in mixed proportional representation. In such a system, Quebecers would elect 78 members to the National Assembly directly, with the remaining 47 seats distributed to reflect the popular vote.

Only the Quebec Liberals oppose ending first-past-the-post voting. In the 2014 election, the Liberals won 41.52 per cent of votes cast, giving them 70 of the 125 assembly seats, or 56 per cent of the total. If their seat total reflected their vote total, the Liberals would have won 52 seats, leaving them in a minority position.

CAQ Leader Legault said in the spring that a mixed proportional voting system would be a priority of his government.

“The public wants us to work together,” Legault said. “You can count on us.”

In this pivotal election campaign, Legault has not emerged as a populist in the mould of Donald Trump or Doug Ford. He did not make threats or wild promises. He even said that if he was American, he would have voted for Hillary Clinton.

Legault was an accountant who became a millionaire at age 39, after founding and then selling his stake in Air Transat, when he was the airline’s president and CEO.

He was recruited as an “efficient left” candidate for the PQ in 1998 by Lisée, who was then a top aide to PQ premier Lucien Bouchard.

Legault now says he is neither left nor right, and has given up on the goal of Quebec sovereignty.

Legault, who still lunches with Bouchard, says he wants to make Quebecers more wealthy. But it’s not clear how he plans to negotiate that path, and that uncertainty seems to have affected his popularity.

He was well ahead in the polls when the campaign started.

The CAQ portrayed itself as a party of change after “15 years of Liberal government,” forgetting the 20-month interregnum of Pauline Marois’ PQ.

Legault harped on the spending cuts that allowed Couillard to balance the budget, and a generous salary agreement with Quebec’s medical specialists he says he’ll roll back.

He also pointed to allegations of corruption on the Liberal watch, all the while promising tax cuts by eliminating up to $1.5 billion in government waste.

Legault has been dragged down by his plans to cut the number of immigrants Quebec accepts each year and his goal of making newcomers pass tests in French and Quebec values before they can become Canadian citizens.

The opening allowed Couillard’s Liberals to rise in the polls as the CAQ lost ground. The two main parties are settling into minority territory at about 30 per cent each.

Even with a tie, however, Legault should win more seats, because the CAQ has a commanding lead among French-speaking voters.

Regionally, the CAQ could pick up nine of the Quebec City region’s 11 seats. It’s also strong in Montreal’s off-island suburbs and in Quebec’s outlying regions. The CAQ is also projected to make gains in regions like Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, which has been a PQ stronghold.

The Liberals today lead on the Island of Montreal, holding 17 of the 25 seats, and in Laval and the Outaouais, which both have five seats each. But elsewhere, support is ebbing.

Meanwhile, the sovereignty option was supposed to be off the agenda in this campaign, but the PQ has started to gain in the polls.

But the real surprise is the rise of Québec solidaire, which appears poised to double its vote total in this election.

That has Lisée turning his guns on QS, clearly worried that after taking the three seats it now holds from the PQ, QS is poised to win even more PQ seats, perhaps including Rosemont, Lisée’s own seat.

In the third campaign debate, the PQ leader attacked QS co-spokesperson Manon Massé, asking who the real leader of QS is.

Massé, a longtime community organizer, and Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, the leading figure of Quebec’s 2012 Maple Spring mobilization against a university tuition hike, are co-leaders.

The big decisions, such as whether to collaborate with the PQ, are taken by the party membership.

Lisée remains peeved that, after reaching an agreement with Nadeau-Dubois to run PQ and QS candidates unopposed by the other sovereigntist party, the QS membership resoundingly rejected the plan.

Gaétan Châteauneuf, a retired union official, is nominally QS leader, but only because Élections Québec requires a leader.

While Lisée, the former Marxist-Leninist, warns voters of the Marxist orientations of QS, the Quebec Communist Party, no longer allied to QS, is supporting the PQ in this election.

With a close race and an uncertain outcome, all four leaders appeared on the High Mass of Quebec TV on Sunday night Radio-Canada’s talk show, Tout le monde en parle. Sitting together, smiling and joking, there was little adversarial jousting. Legault even admitted that Québec solidaire had some interesting ideas.

The appearance of Jack Layton on Tout le monde en parle before the 2011 federal election is credited with the NDP going from one Quebec seat to 59 and Official Opposition status.

This time, though, there’s no tidal wave building, as Quebecers prepare for the final push to election day on Oct. 1.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quebec election: CAQ headed for power, 3rd place still a tossup — poll

But the poll also suggests it will not hold a majority and that the PQ is in a battle for third place in party popularity with Québec solidaire.

Montreal Gazette
Updated: September 25, 2018

François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec will form the next provincial government, an Ipsos survey conducted for La Presse and Global News suggests.

But the poll also suggests that a CAQ government will not hold a majority of seats and that the Parti Québécois seems to be in a battle for third place in party popularity with Québec solidaire.

The survey of 1,250 respondents was conducted Sept. 20-23 — after the last of the three televised leaders debates — and gives 30 per cent support to the CAQ and to Philippe Couillard’s Liberal Party. However, the CAQ’s support among francophone voters stands at 36 per cent while the Liberals’ support from that linguistic group polled at an all time low of 17 per cent, a finding that suggests the CAQ is beating the Liberals in the province’s regions, where elections are decided.

Meanwhile, the PQ gained a two-point bump to land at 20 per cent, just four points ahead of a surging Québec solidaire.

However with a week left in the election campaign, pollsters wonder whether the CAQ’s ongoing slide in popularity (it has dropped six points since the start of the campaign) will continue while the standings of their opponents improve.

Indeed, while the CAQ leads among francophone voters, that lead has eroded as well, dropping five points since the start of the campaign while francophone support has increased for the PQ (25 per cent, a gain of three points) and Québec solidaire (18 per cent, a gain of six points).

The survey also notes that support for Québec Solidaire among young voters stands at 27 per cent, a finding that could have a major impact should those electors go out and cast their ballots.

More than 80 per cent of respondents said they are “absolutely certain” of their choice (52 per cent) or “somewhat certain” (31 per cent).

All four leaders remain less popular than their parties when it comes to the question of who would be the best premier, with Legault of the CAQ polling 22 per cent (a drop of six points since the start of the campaign), Couillard garnering 21 per cent (an increase of three points), Jean-François Lisée of the PQ reaching 14 per cent (an increase of six points) and Manon Massé of Québec solidaire reaching 11 points (an increase of five points).

While the issue of immigration has dominated headlines and debates during the campaign, that of health care was the No. 1 issue, with respondents (63 per cent), followed by taxes (28 per cent), the environment (18 per cent) and, finally immigration (16 per cent).

The mixed online/telephone poll has an overall margin of error of 3.2 per cent


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Surge by left-wing Québec solidaire means election probably will end in minority government

Les Perreaux


Published 12 hours ago

Updated September 25, 2018

An insurgent left-wing party with all the momentum in the Quebec election campaign is being accused of having a hidden Marxist agenda – rhetoric reminiscent of the Cold War and a sign of the rising political tension in the province.

Québec solidaire still sat in fourth place six days before the Monday vote, but as the only party surging in polls and with long-term goals to nationalize banks and the mining industry, along with dramatically increasing taxes and spending, the 12-year-old party is getting a new level of scrutiny. Even if it were to win just a handful of seats, the party could wield substantial influence with a probable minority government.

The latest poll, a snapshot conducted by Ipsos over the weekend and published Tuesday, showed Philippe Couillard’s Quebec Liberal Party tied with the Coalition Avenir Québec under François Legault at 30-per-cent support each.

The CAQ has lost six percentage points of support since the campaign began a month ago, almost mirroring the five-percentage-point rise of Manon Massé's Québec solidaire. The Ipsos poll showed QS at 16-per-cent support, just four points behind the Parti Québécois.

The combined internet and telephone survey of 1,250 people has a margin of error of 3.2 per cent 19 times out of 20.

“It would be extremely surprising if anyone pulled off a majority with numbers like that,” said Sébastien Dallaire, the general manager of Ipsos Québec. “With these numbers, the CAQ would be most likely to win.”

The poll showed the CAQ holding a sizable advantage among francophone voters, who form the majority in swing ridings. But polling expert and sociologist Claire Durand cautioned that the Liberals traditionally see a bump from “discrete” voters on election day that polls rarely capture.

With most of the parties’ promises announced, the campaign has settled into a sniping match as all four parties try to motivate their supporters to cast their ballots.

In a 24-hour sampling, Mr. Couillard accused Mr. Legault of trying to hide from journalists and their questions; Mr. Legault accused Mr. Couillard of hiding assets in offshore accounts; and Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée accused Québec solidaire of having a secret Marxist agenda. None of the accusations came with much evidence.

Mr. Lisée, whose pro-independence, progressive party could also hold much influence in a split legislature, has ramped up attacks in recent days that QS is too extreme. “Québec solidaire is anchored in Marxism and anti-capitalism and is controlled in secrecy by a dogmatic, sectarian current,” he said.

Ms. Massé, the co-representative of QS, which has an unusual dual-headed structure shared with Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois – the leader of Quebec’s massive 2012 student protests – added fuel to the fire when she appeared to accept the label in a TV interview before shying away from it Tuesday. “I refuse to get into this kind of mudslinging and I’m not really into labels,” she said. “I care about people. Mr. Lisée is trying to scare people.”

QS maintains that many of its nationalization plans remain long-term policy objectives. In the short term, it promises to have the province take over the tax-free savings account system and mandate that a portion of the funds be dedicated to loans for green renovations. It would also raise about $12.9-billion in revenue by the fourth year of a mandate by, among other measures, increasing taxes on corporations and personal income above $97,000. It would spend $10-billion on Montreal transit over four years.

The rise of QS, with its orange campaign materials and left-wing politics, has reminded some commentators of the NDP’s Orange Wave in 2011 under Jack Layton, which saw the party rise from obscurity to take a majority of seats in Quebec.

“What we’ve seen in the past few elections, especially at the federal level, is voters are very willing to move from right to left or back without seeing a contradiction,” Mr. Dallaire said. But provincially, the Liberals and PQ have die-hard supporters that are unlikely to roll in a wave. “Québec solidaire and its players are more of a known quantity in Quebec than Jack Layton was. There is not likely to be such a big wave of love for these people.”


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quebec election: PQ’s Lisée defends rogue attack on Québec solidaire

The party executive is said to have taken him to task for demanding during the televised debate: "Who is the real leader of QS and why isn't he here?”

Marian Scott, Montreal Gazette
Updated: September 26, 2018

MONT-TREMBLANT — The war of words between the Parti Québécois and Québec solidaire escalated Wednesday, with PQ leader Jean-François Lisée calling QS’s

Now it’s the PQ that’s warning voters against QS, says the video, which juxtaposes footage of a speech by UN MNA Pierre Roy with audio by Lisée from the current election campaign.

Roy, who lost his seat in Joliette in 1970, compared the PQ to Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

But Lisée said the comparison was off base.

“I’m old enough to have known René Lévesque, to have appreciated him and known the way he brought people together, to know that René Lévesque detested radicalism,” Lisée said at an evening campaign stop at the PQ’s campaign headquarters in Labelle riding.

“And I think it’s a grave insult to his memory.”

Unlike QS, which Lisée has tarred in recent days as Marxist and extremist, the PQ brought together people from both the left and right sides of the political spectrum, Lisée said.

“The issue is that René Lévesque did not like radicalism of any stripe.

“So for QS to try and take the mantle of René Lévesque is simply nonsensical and I think an insult to René Lévesque,” he said.

Lisée kept up his attacks on QS despite reportedly finding himself in hot water within his own party Wednesday over his aggressive tactics.

Broadcaster Bernard Drainville, a former PQ cabinet minister, said Wednesday morning on radio station 98.5 that Lisée never sought counsel from advisors or party brass before launching a startling attack on QS spokesperson Manon Massé during last Thursday’s televised leaders debate.

With polls showing QS eating into the PQ’s support in many ridings, Lisée went off script during a segment of
Thursday’s Face à Face on TVA that was supposed to be about health care. He accused Massé of going back on her word during failed negotiations over a proposed merger between PQ and QS in 2017.

“Who is the real leader of QS and why isn’t he here at the debate?” Lisée shot at Massé, returning to events in which Massé at first agreed to the merger, only to be overruled by her party.

On Tuesday night, Lisée had a conference call with his executive where he came under criticism for the aggressive tactics, according to Drainville.

At a press briefing Wednesday morning in Rouyn-Noranda to outline the PQ’s proposals for attracting young adults to the province’s remote regions, Lisée said that for the most part, the party was united behind his stance towards QS.

“Unanimity does not exist in the PQ,” he said.

There was a consensus “that (the attack) was necessary,” he said.

Lisée implied that his second-in-command, MNA Véronique Hivon, disagreed with his attack tactics, but later, he said they agreed.

“We’re on the same page. I think we both agree that Québec solidaire had a free ride and it was important that they be under the spotlight. That’s done,” he said.

Lisée also said that as leader, he can take stands like the one he’s taken on QS if he sees fit.

“There’s no formal process,” he said.

“I don’t have to ask for permission to criticize Ms. Massé or Mr. Legault or Mr. Couillard. That’s part of my job.”

Now that the campaign is in the final days, the PQ leader said he and Hivon want to help create rapprochement between the three parties seeking to unseat the Liberals.

“We both agreed that since the day before today we are now in the final phase of the campaign, that’s positive, that’s a call to unite all of the forces of change,” he said.

On Tuesday, a poll by Ipsos for La Presse and Global News suggested the PQ is bleeding support to QS, which went up five points to 16 per cent in voter intentions, compared to 20 per cent for the PQ.

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Quebec Provincial Election on October 1

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