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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Quebec election on Dec. 8

If, as expected, Premier Jean Charest, leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, calls an election next week, Quebec voters will go to the polls on Dec. 8.

Recently, Mr. Charest blasted Action Démocratique du Québec (ADQ) Leader Mario Dumont and the Parti Québécois (PQ) Leader Pauline Marois for failing to co-operate on an economic plan and instead pitching ideas unrelated to the struggling economy.

Mr. Dumont has promised efforts to have the Canadian Constitution reopened to recognize Quebec nationhood, while Ms. Marois has told her party that she wants to renew efforts to sell sovereignty. Unwelcome news for Canadians, especially after the recent federal election when federalist parties were soundly defeated by the Bloc Québécois (BQ), Quebec’s sovereignty party.

Liberals hold a slim minority in the Quebec National Assembly. Standings at this point are:

  • Liberals: 48
  • ADQ: 39
  • PQ: 36
  • Vacant: 2

The ADQ, Quebec’s conservative party, has faltered recently. After a strong showing in the 2007 election campaign—in which it took 21 seats from the Liberal Party and and 15 seats from the PQ—bypassing the PQ to become the Official Opposition, the ADQ suffered major setbacks in 2008. It lost four consecutive by-elections by substantial margins, and MNAs Pierre-Michel Auger and André Riedl switched from the ADQ to the Liberals on Oct. 23.

In any event, I’m not sure this group has quite found themselves and are prepared to govern the second most populous province. Another term or two as a strong Official Opposition will stand them in good stead and allow them to build out their team in anticipation of forming the first Quebec conservative government since 1970.

On Thursday, Finance Minister Monique Jérôme-Forget will unveil an economic update. And, by Wednesday of next week, Mr. Charest is expected to call on the Lieutenant-Governor to dissolve the National Assembly and trigger the second provincial election in only 20 months.

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