Who's in the race? François Legault of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) and Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois of Québec solidaire (QS) say the election is a choice between their two parties.

Speaking in Sherbrooke Saturday, Nadeau-Dubois said the riding belongs to either QS or the CAQ, adding that the Quebec campaign is becoming "more and more a two-way fight."

For once, the one he defines as his main opponent agrees.

Legault believes the province is witnessing the confrontation of "two very clear visions" that are "very different."

"One vision is more realistic and takes into account the concerns of Quebecers," he said. The other "thinks that money grows on trees," he concluded.

But Parti Québécois (PQ) leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon retorts that it's still a five-way race.

"In reality, it's a five-way fight. Each party is distinguishing itself with unique proposals," he said at a press conference in Saguenay. "We must respect the right of people to vote based on the proposals that are in line with what they would like."

The PQ leader says his party is the only one taking action to halt the decline of French, and claims to be the only party not to lower taxes.

QS has criticized the tax cuts proposed by the CAQ, the Liberals and the Conservatives, claiming the money should go to health and education needs.

However, Québec solidaire is proposing a temporary suspension of the provincial sales tax (QST) on essential goods to help households cope with inflation.

For her part, Liberal leader Dominique Anglade accused Nadeau-Dubois of partaking in "old politics."

"It's not up to our opponents to define who will be chosen by Quebecers. I think that for a young politician, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois is doing a lot of old politics," she said.

Later, to a reporter who asked her if she was still in the race, Dominique Anglade replied, "More than ever!"

She presented herself as the only "economic" alternative to the CAQ.

"Moreover, over the next two weeks, Quebecers will discover a "person who is passionate, who speaks from the heart [...] a mother who is able to understand what people go through in their daily lives," Anglade said in a Trois-Rivières press scrum.

"Regardez-moi aller, regardez-moi aller," she added, referencing the famous phrase of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

Conservative leader Éric Duhaime scoffed at the notion of a two-man duel.

"François Legault would like if Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois was his main opponent. It would be easier for him," he said on Twitter.

The spokesman for Québec solidaire holds firm to his belief that the election is a clash between two visions.

"What I notice about the dynamics of the election campaign is that since the beginning, especially since the leaders' debate, François Legault spends a lot of time attacking Québec solidaire," Nadeau-Dubois said Sunday.

"There are two teams: that of the Solidaires and that of François Legault, which more and more, I think, reveal themselves to Quebecers. We are in the process of imposing ourselves as the alternative to the CAQ."  


The only real threat to the CAQ is the PQ, according to Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet.

Blanchet visited a gathering of PQ supporters Sunday at a bar in Baie-Comeau.

The leader of the federal sovereignist party took a shot at the CAQ and QS.

"Gabriel and François, it's starting to be cute," said Blanchet, referring to the fact that Legault appears to focus his attacks on QS.

"Who is the least dangerous leader for François Legault? It's Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois."

He said there's no transfer of votes between the CAQ and QS, adding that the QS, as well as the Liberal party, are confined to certain regions.

"The party with the greatest potential for growth in voting intention, like it or not, is the Parti Québécois (PQ) of Paul St-Pierre Plamondon."

Blanchet also brushed off any threat posed by the Conservatives. "I haven't paid much attention to people who are angry, who have chosen an angry leader and who are going to vote angry."

St-Pierre Plamondon delivered a good performance at Thursday's debate, Blanchet added.

"He waited for the moments to, at every turn, present the proposals and program elements of the Parti Québécois. Much more than trying to attack the other. And that's worthy of the greatest respect."

Like St-Pierre Plamondon the day before, Blanchet invited sovereignists who voted for the CAQ, but also for QS, to return to the fold.

In a press scrum, Blanchet questioned the pro-independence convictions of QS.

"A genius of strategy at Québec solidaire who says: 'we are [sovereigntists].' It's very good for appealing to PQ voters, but it also says: 'for us, we are [sovereigntists], but there is no nation with an identity. What constitutes the national identity, we deny it.'"

As for whether sovereigntists should vote for the CAQ:

"Stop kidding yourself. François Legault will not acheive independence, he was clear."

This report was first published in French by The Canadian Press on Sept. 18, 2022.