Opinion poll gives majority to PQ; Marceau preparing budget
The latest opinion poll shows the Parti Quebecois is, once again, gaining considerable support from the public.
A CROP poll taken on behalf of La Presse shows the PQ is now the preferred party for 40 per cent of the public, once undecided voters are factored in.
Support for the opposition Liberals under Philippe Couillard is at 34 per cent, while the Coalition Avenir Quebec has the support of 16 per cent of voters.
Quebec Solidaire is preferred by 7 per cent of the public, with Option Nationale favoured by 2 percent.
CROP polls conducted in December and January placed the PQ and the Liberals at 35 per cent support.
Pauline Marois is preferred
When it comes to best premier, most of the Quebec population seems to approve of the decisions made by Pauline Marois.
She was first choice for 35 percent of those polled, with Couillard a distant second at 22 per cent.
Francoise Legault of the CAQ was the choice of 13 per cent, with QS leader Francoise David the option for 6 percent.
Along with increased support for the PQ came an overall increase in satisfaction with the government, pegged at 42 per cent.
Election speculation has been rampant over the past few months, with many pundits predicting Marois would ask to dissolve the National Assembly in the next few weeks, with Quebecers going to the polls in late March or early April.
The CROP poll was a survey of 1,000 members of its web panel, taken from Feb. 13 to Feb. 16.
Despite the polls, Liberal leader Philippe Couillard doesn't think the PQ has the upper hand.
“They are taking Quebec towards poverty, division and a referendum,” he said.
Meanwhile Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau bought a new pair of shoes on Tuesday (Aldo, size 10, black) in advance of presenting his second budget on Thursday.
When asked if the budget would include tax breaks or means to deal with the province's $2.5 billion deficit, Marceau said reporters would have to wait and see.
"It's going to be a responsible budget. I'm proud of it and you'll have a lot to read on Thursday as you will see," Marceau said.
But with a big deficit and a lagging economy, Marceau may find it hard to offer goodies like tax cuts to entice voters.
Couillard said it was the same thing in 2003 when then-finance minister Pauline Marois tabled a budget.
“Mme. Marois had tabled a budget that she did not want to be debated she went into an election that we won with the same polls,” he said.
Again Tuesday, sparks flew on the economy in Question Period at the National Assembly, with Marois accusing the Liberals of leaving huge deficits after their time in power.
Bills would die on paper
If an election is called many notable bills will die on the order paper, including the Charter of Values, which could become an election issue.
“My job is to advance this bill far as possible and as long as possible,” said Public Institutions Minister Bernard Drainville.
But while Bill 60 is still in the earliest stages, two other important pieces of legislation are much further along, with Bill 52, the Dying with Dignity Act, close to having its final reading.
“I'm really confident that so close to the end the spirit will continue,” said Minister for Public Health Veronique Hivon.
The act to create an Inspector General position for Montreal would also be indefinitely postponed if the legislature were to dissolve.
“It’s not up to Montreal’s mayor, Mr. Coderre, to decide” how quickly MNAs move, said Municipal Affairs Minister Sylvain Gaudreault.
It would be possible, however, for a future government to recall any bills currently before the house and continue the law-making process.