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Quebec Election Watch

Follow our correspondents along the campaign trail

Marois serene as Charest rallies the troops on Quebec election day

Les Perreaux, Rhéal Séguin and Daniel Leblanc

As she prepared to cast her vote in the Quebec provincial election Tuesday morning, Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois said she had waited a long time for this moment.

“It would be the first time Quebeckers chose a woman to lead Quebec,” Ms. Marois said. “I’ve been preparing for this moment for 30 years.”

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Wife of Charest opponent apologizes after crude beheading drawing posted to Facebook

Les Perreaux

If the caricature of Jean Charest being guillotined by a ballot was meant as a joke, the Liberal Leader isn’t taking it that way.

Mariette Fugère, the wife of Mr. Charest’s Parti Québécois opponent in Sherbrooke, and the president of a nearby riding association, posted the crude drawing of Mr. Charest about to be beheaded, with the caption: "End of reign," to her Facebook page.

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Quebec Health Minister Bolduc revives woman who collapsed at arena event

LES PERREAUX

Quebec’s Health Minister, family physician Yves Bolduc, came to the rescue after a woman collapsed at a celebration for Quebec City’s new arena.

The woman dropped to the ground beside the stage Monday and stopped breathing as dignitaries including Liberal Leader Jean Charest prepared to use their ceremonial shovels to mark the start of the construction project.

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High-profile PQ candidate steals Legault’s thunder at speech

Daniel Leblanc and Rhéal Séguin

A prominent Parti Québécois candidate has hijacked a speech by Coalition Avenir Québec Leader François Legault to east-end Montreal businessmen, highlighting the growing ground fight between the two leading parties in the Quebec election.

Mr. Legault addressed the East Montreal Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday morning, only to find that PQ candidate and high-profile strategist Jean-François Lisée had bought a ticket and was in the room.

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Legault pitches CAQ as party to upend status quo

Daniel Leblanc

François Legault is calling on Quebeckers to give him a majority on Sept. 4, saying it’s the only way to get rid of the province’s “old parties” and start defying the status quo.

The leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec, however, acknowledged that he faces an uphill battle in winning over a cynical electorate that has soured on the political class.

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PQ stance on referendums has left Marois in a predicament

Rhéal Séguin

It was only a matter of time before the referendum controversy that has dogged the Parti Québécois in recent months would force itself into Quebec’s election campaign. Now, confusion over PQ Leader Pauline Marois’s position on the controversial issue has placed her in quite a predicament.

The PQ hasn’t had a clear referendum strategy to achieve sovereignty since Jacques Parizeau was party leader. In the 1994 election he promised that if elected, he would hold a referendum “eight to ten months” after taking power. The Bloc Québécois leader at the time Lucien Bouchard tried repeatedly to stop Mr. Parizeau, but the best he could do was to delay the holding of the referendum by a couple of months.

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Why dead caribou matter in Quebec politics

Tu Thanh Ha

In Quebec politics, it matters whether you’re a caribou or a kangaroo.

This came up again on Wednesday night, in a key moment in the final televised debate of the Quebec election campaign, pitting François Legault of the Coalition Avenir Québec against Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois.

Mr. Legault, a former PQ member, criticized Ms. Marois as being beholden to radical elements in the separatist movement.

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New poll finds CAQ catching up with Quebec Liberals

Campbell Clark

No need to guess why Quebec Liberal Leader Jean Charest has aggressively turned his guns against François Legault, leader of the new Coalition Avenir Québec. A new poll shows Mr. Legault’s party is eating into the Liberal vote. And Quebeckers now rate Mr. Legault as the best candidate for premier.

The poll, conducted by CROP for La Presse between Sunday and Tuesday, shows the Parti Québécois’s Pauline Marois has widened her lead over Mr. Charest’s Liberals. And the CAQ is catching up.

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Charest aims to boost youth competitiveness

Campbell Clark

You’d think Jean Charest would steer clear of measures to force teens to work after he blasted the CAQ’s François Legault for suggesting Quebec youths don’t work as hard in school as Asian kids do. But no.

Today, Mr. Charest, at a campaign stop in Sherbrooke, promised to require that all Quebec high-school students do 10 hours of volunteer work before they can pass a mandatory class. It’s the first time Quebec students will be required to do community work, though students in neighbouring Ontario and some other provinces already do it.

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Charest photo-op knocked off course by wily protesters

Campbell Clark

It only took a pair of protestors to knock Jean Charest’s planned photo-op off course this morning.

The Quebec Liberal Leader’s staff had convened journalists to a photo session with his Quebec City MNAs on a street corner just behind the National Assembly. But two demonstrators – a woman and a teenage boy unfurled a large red square, the symbol of Quebec’s student protests. “Mr. Charest,” the woman called loudly. “Yoo hoo, Mr. Charest.”

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Marois unveils plan to protect Quebec companies from foreign takeovers

Rhéal Séguin

The Parti Québécois is gloating over what it calls “the odour of scandal” afflicting Liberal Leader Jean Charest’s election campaign.

Mr. Charest has had to defend himself against “insinuations” that he interfered in a police investigation after Radio-Canada reported that police stopped tailing a union official and Liberal supporter, Eddy Brandone in 2009 after he met briefly with the Liberal leader.

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Charest won’t rule out lawsuit after controversial Radio-Canada ‘insinuation’

Daniel Leblanc

Jean Charest is refusing to exclude any options in his dispute with Radio-Canada, but the Quebec Liberal Leader will focus on the Sept. 4 election before deciding on his reaction to a controversial news report that disrupted his campaign strategy.

The French-language arm of the CBC aired a news report on Wednesday alleging that the provincial police stopped a tailing operation shortly after its target ran into Mr. Charest in a hotel in Dorval, Que., in 2009.

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PQ’s Marois attacks ‘useless’ Harper institutions, royalty

Rhéal Seguin

The Queen may be celebrating the 60th year of her reign, but that isn’t going to make Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois any more polite towards Her Majesty.

With the Quebec election campaign in full swing, the royal family has become for the PQ a symbol of the federal Conservative government’s efforts to impose the Crown on Quebec as part of its identity, an initiative decried by sovereigntists.

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Parti Québécois thinks another sweep of Gaspé ridings within grasp

Rhéal Séguin

Not since 1994 has the Parti Québécois swept the Gaspé region ridings of Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Gaspé and Bonaventure. But as Pauline Marois swung through the region, capping a first week of campaigning, the PQ’s confidence in repeating the exploit of 18 years ago was palpable.

One reason is that the riding boundaries have been altered and many voters are dissatisfied with the changes. The PQ has also recruited candidates with local stature and strong ties to their communities.

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Known for electing right-wing politicians, Mégantic also has its share of dissenters

Daniel Leblanc

The five red-square-wearing protesters didn’t make much noise as they clanged on pots, pans and lids with their spoons and meat tenderizers.

They didn’t even grab the attention of Quebec Liberal Leader Jean Charest as he exited his campaign bus and entered a community centre to warm up a partisan crowd.

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Charest tells voters to head to polls to avoid referendum

Daniel Leblanc

Quebec Liberal Leader Jean Charest is calling on staunch federalists such as the province’s anglophones to reject the urge to stay at home on Sept. 4 to express their disenchantment with his government.

In an English-language radio interview Friday morning, Mr. Charest warned the Parti Québécois is intent on holding a third referendum on Quebec sovereignty, and that the party will benefit if traditional Liberal voters don’t show up at the ballot box.

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Duchesneau’s comments cast doubt on his teamwork skills

Daniel Leblanc

Less than one day into the ring, Jacques Duchesneau has already showcased his larger-than-life personality and sparked further doubts about his ability to be a team player in the world of politics.

Speaking to a Montreal radio station, the ex-cop said he would be the “conductor” – the “chef d’orchestre” – of the Coalition Avenir Québec’s anti-corruption effort. In particular, Mr. Duchesneau said he would oversee a number of departments in Quebec City that are part of the fight against corruption, such as municipal affairs, natural resources, transport and public safety, including appointing ministers.

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Marois’s promise of sovereignty short on details

RHÉAL SÉGUIN DANIEL LEBLANC

Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois released her party’s provincial election platform Sunday, promising sovereignty for Quebeckers but refusing to explain how and when she intends to achieve her “dream.”

The platform reiterates the PQ’s deliberately ambiguous position on holding a referendum on the issue. It says a PQ government would “achieve sovereignty after consulting the population in a referendum that will be held at a time it deems to be appropriate.”

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Charest charges 'Quebec's Eliot Ness' with political opportunism

Daniel Leblanc and Rhéal Séguin

Jacques Duchesneau’s formal entry into the Quebec election quickly triggered a realignment of forces, stealing thunder from the Parti Québécois in its efforts to bring down the Liberals.

The anti-corruption crusader and former cop showcased his political talents as a candidate for the third-ranked Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) on Sunday, promising to clean up the province after years of scandals in the construction industry and the municipal world.

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Charest borrows PQ slogan in hopes of swaying supporters

Daniel Leblanc

The brightest and smartest minds of the Quebec Liberal Party likely spent dozens of hours coming up with slogans for this election campaign.

The result of all of their work were three simple words: “Pour le Québec.” It’s even shorter once translated into English – “For Quebec” – and now adorns all of the party’s election signs spread out throughout the province. The goal is to present all Liberal candidates are being ready to work “for Quebec” and of favouring policies “for Quebec.”

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