BÉCANCOUR, QUE. -- Premier François Legault leaves it a mystery when the byelection will be called in Jean-Talon, a potentially hotly contested Quebec City riding.

However, a date is circulating for the call: around Aug. 24.

Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) MNA Joëlle Boutin officially resigned on July 31 for family reasons, barely nine months after being re-elected, freeing up her seat in what has long been a Liberal stronghold.

The government has six months after that to call an election to fill the seat, but Legault seems in no hurry to call the byelection.

Asked about it on Thursday, on the sidelines of a major investment announcement in Bécancour, the CAQ leader remained vague.

"We'll announce it in due course, and our candidate and the election date. The law gives us six months. So in due course, we'll announce it," Legault said.

However, a source told The Canadian Press that the CAQ had signed a lease for election premises in the riding, effective Aug. 24 until October 10. This would provide a window of time for the election campaign.

The Canadian Press was unable to confirm this information officially.

On Thursday, Québecor media announced that Marie-Anik Shoiry, founder and executive director of the "Vide ta sacoche" organization, would be carrying the colours of the CAQ in the byelection.

The information was not confirmed by The Canadian Press, but the premier did not deny it.

It didn't take long after Joëlle Boutin's resignation for the Opposition to begin the pre-election campaign.

The Parti Québécois (PQ) has high hopes for this election, even though it has never won the riding. Indeed, the latest polls put it first in the Quebec City region, with 30 per cent of voting intentions.

However, candidates have yet to be chosen.

Québec solidaire (QS) is already on the starting blocks, but it's all been done amid controversy. Court reporter Olivier Bolduc won the nomination, but the national executive, which preferred a female candidate, recommended voting for his opponent, Christine Gilbert.

Finally, the Quebec Liberal Party (QLP), in the midst of reconstruction and without a leader, has yet to find a candidate.

La Presse and Radio-Canada reported that the federal Liberal MNA for Louis-Hébert, Joël Lightbound, had declined the PLQ's invitation to run after careful consideration.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Aug. 17, 2023.