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PQ's Marois backs Duceppe, warns Quebeckers of NDP's allure

Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe, left, is joined by Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois as they begin a long day of travelleing together as the campaign comes to an end Saturday, April 30, 2011 in Longueuil Que. Canadians are going to the polls on Monday May 2.

Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois has popped up in the last stretch of the federal campaign to lend a hand to the Bloc Québécois, calling on nationalist Quebeckers to resist the lure of the NDP.

"I hope that people won't let themselves become distracted," Ms. Marois said at the first of many stops of a long day on the hustings with Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe.

The PQ Leader said that the NDP "can seem interesting at first view," but repeated the long-standing attack that the pan-Canadian party has "centralizing ambitions" that would rob Quebec of long-sought powers.

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Acknowledging she is "a little surprised" by the strong NDP standing in the polls in Quebec, Ms. Marois said she is counting on a strong Bloc contingent in Ottawa to defend Quebec's interests and promote her movement's dream of independence.

"I hope that all sovereigntists will unite their forces on Monday," Ms. Marois said.

An Angus-Reid poll in La Presse on Saturday gave 45-percent support to the NDP, compared to 26 per cent for the Bloc, 16 per cent for the Liberal Party and 13 per cent for the Conservative Party.

If the NDP's results hold up and translate into seats, it will mark a historic shift in Quebec, where the party has only ever won one seat in a general election.

Mr. Duceppe and Ms. Marois are spending the day between Montreal and Quebec City, visiting both shores of the St. Lawrence valley in a traditionally sovereigntist heartland.

The fact the campaign is focussing on those areas of Quebec suggest that Bloc strongholds are threatened on May 2. As such, the Bloc is hoping that the organizational muscle of the sovereigntist movement will salvage some of its long-held seats.

Mr. Duceppe is attacking the NDP's positions as being Canada-first, such as the use of EI surpluses to fund its social programs. In addition, the Bloc raises questions about the NDP's commitment to the promotion of the use of the French-language in federally regulated sectors of the economy in Quebec, pointing out that one of its candidates in Quebec doesn't speak French.

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"If another party ran a unilingual francophone in Moose Jaw, you can imagine the scandal that would make in the press," Mr. Duceppe said.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Daniel Leblanc studied political science at the University of Ottawa and journalism at Carleton University. He became a full-time reporter in 1998, first at the Ottawa Citizen and then in the Ottawa bureau of The Globe and Mail. More

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