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Duceppe slams Portneuf incumbent for working during campaign

Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe, right, waves to supporters as Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois applauds Saturday, April 30, 2011 in Longueuil, Que.Canadians are going to the polls on Monday May 2.

Jacques Boissinot/THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

The Bloc Québécois is hoping to capitalize on its opponents' gaffes as it scrambles to pick up the pieces of its own faltering campaign.

After attacking NDP candidates in Quebec who were vacationing during the election, Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe slammed André Arthur, the independent incumbent in the riding of Portneuf-Jacques-Cartier who is still working as a bus driver.

Mr. Duceppe is touring ridings at the heart of three-way races between Montreal and Quebec City on Saturday, hoping to save Bloc seats from an NDP surge, bring down Mr. Arthur and take over a handful of Conservative ridings in Quebec City.

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According to local media reports, Mr. Arthur, who is a Conservative ally running as an independent, drove his tour bus to Alma, Que. on Friday, calling it his hobby.

But Mr. Duceppe said it showed that some of his adversaries are not taking their jobs seriously.

"We're making a stop in Portneuf to show that our candidate is always there," Mr. Duceppe said. "It's our duty in a democracy to respect people. In my view, respect for voters involves running a campaign."

Mr. Duceppe is touring with Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois, who said all those seeking the protection of Quebec's interests - be they sovereigntists or federalists - should vote for the Bloc.

"In my view, there is only one option. Even if you're federalist, if you think that it is necessary for us to be recognized as Quebeckers, as a nation, the Bloc Québécois is the party to support," Ms. Marois said.

The statement is somewhat of a departure from the Bloc's message since Monday, namely that the election is a battle between sovereigntists and federalists.

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