Quebec election called

Quebec election off to bitter start - News - Quebec election off to bitter start
Liberals, PQ trade charges of slush fund, smear tactics in run-up to March 26 vote

February 21, 2007
Sean Gordon

MONTREAL–The Quebec election campaign begins today amid bitter recriminations, with the Parti Québécois and Liberals trading accusations of illegal financing and document tampering.
The PQ's opening gambit in yesterday's special sitting of the National Assembly was to table documents suggesting Premier Jean Charest's top adviser was involved in an illegal 1995 Quebec referendum slush fund.
The Liberals angrily denied the link, and later in the day Deputy Premier Jacques Dupuis accused the PQ of doctoring a receipt as part of a deliberate smear campaign.
A PQ official conceded that information was edited from a document in the name of avoiding confusion, but said the fact remains that senior provincial Liberals were involved in illicit funding practices in 1995 – allegations the Liberals hotly deny.
What is clear from the accusations and denials is the PQ pulled out all the stops to overshadow the Liberals' pre-election budget, a document that proposes a mix of middle-class tax cuts and modest program increases.
Today the campaign begins in earnest; Charest will hold a final cabinet meeting and then visit the lieutenant governor to dissolve the assembly with an election date of March 26. Leaders of the three main parties – the Liberals, PQ and Action démocratique du Québec – will then fan out across the province.
The Liberals currently hold 72 of the 125 seats in the National Assembly. The PQ has 45 and Action démocratique 5. There is one independent MNA and there are two vacancies.
Polls show a three-way race, but the Liberals are clearly buoyant, feeling they have momentum.
This might explain the PQ allegations that Ottawa skirted Quebec's electoral laws – allegations that are heavily symbolic in that they dredge up the spectre of the federal sponsorship scandal.
The opposition PQ, which trails the Liberals in polls, stood by its assertion that its documents show hundreds of thousands of federal dollars were secretly funnelled to federalist forces through the Quebec Liberal Party, an ad agency with Liberal ties and the now-defunct Canadian Unity Council.
The most recent accusations are part of a wider scandal involving Option Canada, a shadowy organization set up shortly before the 1995 referendum, which the "No" forces, those opposed to sovereignty, narrowly won.
Activities involving the group came to light in a book by television journalist Normand Lester, who is an avowed sovereignist, and whose co-author is a PQ candidate in the election.
The Option Canada affair is the subject of a probe by the province's chief electoral officer, the results of which won't be released until after the vote.
The rhetoric has escalated throughout the build-up to the election campaign, which many observers expect to set new standards for vitriol and below-the-belt attacks.
Last week, one of Charest's star candidates compared Action démocratique leader Mario Dumont to ultra-right-wing French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen.
Dumont retorted by saying Charest was a "small" premier for not demanding a retraction.
PQ leader André Boisclair got into the act this week by calling Charest a "liar" because of his proposal to lift a university tuition freeze that has been in place since 1994.
Dupuis fielded all the questions on the documents during a stormy question period at the National Assembly, batting back the allegations from PQ House Leader Diane Lemieux as irresponsible slurs.
Then he went on the offensive.
"If the opposition House leader looks to her right and to her left, she will see people who have violated the electoral law and people who have violated the criminal law," he said, the latter a clear reference to past cocaine use by Boisclair, who sits beside Lemieux.
It was an unexpected development on a day when Charest had clearly hoped the pre-electoral spotlight would shine on Finance Minister Michel Audet's $60 billion budget.
The document reads like an election platform and showers money on priorities including regional development, health, education, and cities.
It also recaps the government's record in office and trumpets an across-the-board tax cut as its signature achievement. The Liberal campaign strategy is clearly predicated on reinforcing its brand as a shrewd and cautious custodian of the public purse.
"We've told our story for the past four years, we're very proud of that story, we've got a very good report card," said Treasury Board President Monique Jérôme-Forget.
Quebec is forecasting a modest $1-billion surplus for the current year, will spend $23.6 billion on health care (which represents a $1.3-billion jump), and $13.3 billion on education.
The budget projects a $570-million increase in education spending, but Audet noted "we will do even more if we obtain additional funds from the federal government."
PQ finance critic François Legault panned the budget, saying his party has tracked 657 announcements in the last four months where the Liberals have pledged $11.2 billion for a series of initiatives. Legault also launched an attack on a litany of broken Liberal promises, something that promises to be a major campaign theme.
"It confirms that for the fifth time the tax cuts that were promised in 2003 are nowhere to be seen. This government is zero-for-five on tax cuts," he said, adding "the best thing about this budget is it's their last."
Dumont also scoffed at the budget, which he said constitutes "a great crisis of imagination" and that it "is there for future elections, not for future generations."
"What Quebecers expected from this government is results, not a repetition of past announcements," he said.
The provincial budget contains a $250-million, across-the-board tax cut for middle-class families, but it won't come into effect until 2008.

How this election goes could also decide whether we go to the polls federally this spring.
Here we go again! Politics here in Quebec are a pain in the a******, even families have been broken up do to arguments. People often ask why are we the most taxes, because our economy is so bad due to political instability.
You're right. We need to put the sovereignty question to bed at last and finally the instability will be over and maybe we can get some more investors out this way. It's time to put Québec back on track and time to put Montréal back on the industrial map. Screw Toronto (j/k... love T-town).

I want this election to go down, and I want the Parti Québécois to LOSE seats in the National Assembly, giving the PLQ another majority government. This will ensure that for at least 5 more years there will be no god-damned referendum and it will do sooooo much damage to the sovereignty movement. It's about goddamn time too. It's way past the PQ's bedtime. Let's start finishing them off.

Vote Parti Libéral du Québec. Charest is doing as good a job as anyone could possibly do, given the Québec political scene.


Charest is doing as good a job as anyone could possibly do, given the Québec political scene.

Agreed - with luck, a prayer, and a wing - this election will not be referendum/separation based as opposed to Qweebek finally wanting to put separation to bed and become a nation within a nation - good luck to Charest buy gar, colin de bin, esss tea and you go get 'em. . . .
El Barto
I'm just hoping the PQ party comes in third
The ADQ may be the wild card, they had the most original idea's in the past just not that popular yet.
This is going to be a most intresting election.

On one side you have Charest that hasnt kept most of its promises.

On the other side, you have the PQ that isnt even united.

And then, you have the ADQ, with its right wing agenda, that isnt in line with most Québécers.
Who's going to win?
El Barto
Hopefully the liberals . ADQ might be refreshing but a long shot.
With the ADQ in the mix, there are considerable chances to end up with a minority government. This has not happened since the 19th century! I would actually like that... With a minority government at the federal level and with the potential for rapid change, I would prefer for Quebec to have the option to go back voting sooner than later...
El Barto
As long as the PQ has no chance I don't care who gets it and how well.
Quote: Originally Posted by ToroView Post

Who's going to win?

Right now, it looks like it's gonna be the Liberals... Last polls gave 36% to the Libs and 31% to the PQ... But with the voting system we have, the PQ could still take power... And with the ADQ in the mix, it's gonna be a 3 way race in many parts of Quebec... We could have lots of surprises...

Who's going to win?

le answer. . . .


On one side you have Charest (Fiberals) that hasnt kept most of its promises.

El Barto
LOL thats cute
Can't rely on polls in Québec. Never been right in decades.

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