In final days, Marois flirts with a majority
Published Sunday, September 2, 2012 7:12PM EDT
MONTREAL—Stumping in the vote-rich suburbs that ring Montreal, Pauline Marois was all smiles on Sunday, having enjoyed the morning’s headlines.
The front page of the Journal de Montreal had the Parti Quebecois standing firm at 33 per cent support in the final Leger poll before Tuesday’s election. Her party is enjoying a modest cushion over the governing Liberals and the surging Coalition Avenir Quebec.
“I am very confident, but I will work until Tuesday the fourth because I would like to have a majority at the National Assembly,” said Marois, working a crowd in Saint-Jerome.
With pollsters saying that the PQ leader is only one per cent shy of the majority she craves, Marois has worked hard pressing the flesh around Montreal. The election is expected to be decided in Laval and the ridings north of the suburb, with a number of close three-way races.
Saint-Jerome is one of the races were the Parti Quebecois could win, but the party is facing a tough challenger in the CAQ’s Jacques Duchesneau—the key witness in the Charbonneau Inquiry into corruption and Montreal’s former police chief.
“It’s a real fight between myself and Mr. Duchesneay,” said Gilles Robert, the PQ candidate in Saint-Jerome.
While 38 per cent of Francophones surveyed said that they would vote PQ, not all were convinced that the party’s policies on language and sovereignty are best for the province. Marois addressed those concerns on Sunday.
“When the population of Quebec is ready, we will consult the population,” said Marois, delivering a message that pushed her plan to help families and improve public transit.
While Marois is hoping to ride her momentum to a majority government, CAQ leader Francois Legault is looking at a two-way race between his party and the PQ.
According to Legault, Francophone voters have abandoned the governing Liberals and that means that Jean Charest doesn’t stand a chance.
“You know very well the way it works with the different ridings in Quebec. It's mathematically impossible to have Mr. Charest in second or first place,” said Legault. Some polls have predicted that the Liberals could suffer their worst defeat since Confederation.
With his sights set on Marois, Legault characterized her and the PQ as a party that divides and excludes.
“All Quebecers love Quebec and we have to bring them together,” said Legault.
Earlier in the campaign, Legault had said that Marois and Charest were wasting time arguing over a referendum while he was focused on more important issues. However lately, he's been drawing out the referendum card repeatedly, trying to discourage people from voting for the PQ.
For those who've converted to the CAQ, it may be Legault's personality more than his policies that have won voters over.
“He's a man with heart, a man of convictions, a man of his words who will bring Quebecers to the place we should be,” said Trois-Rivieres resident Denise Grenier.