Que. Liberals trailing in polls, PQ urges sovereigntists to unite
Published Saturday, August 25, 2012 1:29PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, August 26, 2012 9:36AM EDT
With 10 days until the Quebec election and another poll putting the Parti Quebecois ahead of the pack, the governing Liberals could be heading towards the worst defeat in the party’s history.
The latest poll conducted by Léger Marking shows PQ Leader Pauline Marois ahead with 33 per cent of voter support -- enough to form a minority government. The CAQ followed with 28 per cent, which left the Liberal party trailing in third place with 27 per cent of voter support.
Liberal leader Jean Charest dismissed the polling results on Saturday.
“Unreliable,” Charest told CTV Montreal. “That's the least we can say about the polls.”
However, one Liberal supporter said she’s not impressed with the way the Charest government has conducted itself in the past year.
“You're kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place,” said Gabriella Djerrahian. “You either vote for that again, or you vote for one of the other three that doesn't really represent the larger outlook that I have. So yes, it's definitely not going to be a comfortable vote for me.”
While ahead in the polls, Marois downplayed a decision by former Quebec premier Jacques Parizeau to support the smaller Option nationale party, which presents itself as more committed to gaining the province’s independence from Canada.
Parizeau, who nearly led Quebec to independence in 1995, opted to make a $200 donation to the campaign of Jean-Martin Aussant, the head of the separatist party.
Option nationale has been polling at around two per cent province-wide.
Marois said that while she has "the utmost respect for Parizeau," she urged "sovereigntists and progressives" to unite under the PQ banner.
"I want to tell Quebecers that are listening, if you want to get back to the goal of creating a country, only a majority government can do it, a sovereigntist government of the Parti Quebecois," Marois said at a news conference Saturday.
Marois has not committed to a timeline for holding a referendum if the Parti Quebecois wins the next election. She also faced criticism this week for backtracking on a party pledge to automatically initiate a referendum if 850,000 Quebecers sign a petition.
Meanwhile, the Option nationale has said making Quebec independent is the party’s first priority.
"We are the only party right now with a clear message toward making Quebec a country," said Aussant in an interview.
André Juneau, the director of intergovernmental relations at Queen’s University, told CTV News Channel on Saturday that if the PQ wins the provincial election, the federal government would take a “wait and see” approach.
“If the international economy deteriorates as some data seems to suggest, all governments, including a PQ government in Quebec, will have to focus on the economy,” said Juneau. “So the kinds of demands that Mme Marois announced that she would make might not materialize right away.”
Juneau said while there has been much talk of a potential referendum during the campaign, the parties should spend more time discussing their plans to work with Ottawa and other provinces to improve Quebec’s economy.
With a report from CTV Montreal’s Maya Johnson and files from The Canadian Press