Election not about personal lives: Charest
MONTREAL - Liberal Premier Jean Charest is asking Quebecers to focus on issues in the provincial election campaign and not on candidates' personal lives.
Charest says it's unacceptable to comment on the private life of Parti Quebecois Leader Andre Boisclair, who is gay.
"It's not the Liberal leader who is speaking here,'' Charest said Friday. "I'm speaking as the premier of Quebec.
"We want a campaign of ideas and depth and not on questions raised about people's private lives,'' the premier said.
A controversial radio host has dragged homosexuality into the open in the campaign after declaring Boisclair's PQ looks like a "club of fags.''
Boisclair wouldn't comment Friday on Charest's declaration.
The PQ leader has said Quebecers will decide whether homosexuality is an issue worthy of consideration in the campaign leading to the March 26 vote.
Action democratique du Quebec Leader Mario Dumont said he doesn't approve of the radio host's comments and that homosexuality isn't the issue in the campaign.
"I think that Mr. Boisclair's problems in this campaign are deeper than that,'' he said, citing what he called the PQ leader's weak leadership.
A poll published Friday suggested the ADQ was gaining support and could win up to 20 seats, 15 more than it had when the election was called.
The Leger Marketing survey -- conducted for the Montreal Gazette, Le Journal de Montreal and television network TVA -- had the Liberals at 32 per cent, the PQ at 25 per cent and the ADQ at 21 per cent.
After the undecided vote was redistributed, the Liberals had 36 per cent, the PQ 29 per cent and the ADQ 25 per cent.
However, 45 per cent of the poll respondents said they might change their vote depending on what happens in the campaign.
The poll surveyed 3,101 Quebecers and was conducted Feb. 24-Feb. 28. It's considered accurate within 1.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Boisclair said he wasn't discouraged by the results.
"We're still running the same campaign with the same determination,'' he said in Granby, about one hour east of Montreal. "I think things are working very well, day after day.''
Boisclair was campaigning Friday on improving the province's health-care system.
He said 1.6 million Quebecers don't have access to a family doctor and he wants that situation improved. He also said he'd like the elderly to have better at-home care.
"We are going to offer Quebecers a more humane service,'' he said.
In the Quebec City area, Dumont proposed a public inquiry into the conditions in which the elderly live in long-term care institutions.
He said such an inquiry would cost several million dollars and lead to an overhaul of the system.