Polls predict Quebec elections likely to end in hung parliament
29 September 2018
Opinion polls suggest no party will win a parliamentary majority in Monday’s Quebec provincial election.
At the campaign’s outset, the right-wing populist Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ-Coalition for Quebec’s Future) had a more than five-percentage point lead over the Quebec Liberal Party, which has governed Quebec for all but 18 months of the last 15 years. But the CAQ’s crude Quebec chauvinist appeals, including its plan to expel immigrants who fail French-language or “Quebec values” tests after three years’ residence, have repelled many voters.
At the last of three debates between the leaders of the four parties represented in the outgoing Quebec National Assembly—the Liberals; CAQ; the big business, pro-Quebec independence Parti Québécois (PQ); and the pseudo-left Québec Solidaire—CAQ head and one-time PQ cabinet minister François Legault soft-peddled his party’s anti-immigrant stance. The Liberal government, he demagogically declared, is the only one that the CAQ wants to expel.
However, Legault couldn’t help himself. When a CAQ supporter asked him Wednesday if he would “fight for us” against immigrants who are “effacing us,” Legault exclaimed, “Yes, of course that’s what we want … It is a question of protecting who we are as Quebeckers.”
The Liberals, headed by Premier Philippe Couillard, remain the preferred party of government of most of Canadian and Quebec big business. The press is full of commentary lamenting that whilst Quebec’s economy is the “best” it has been in decades, the Liberals are so widely despised they are in danger of garnering their smallest-ever share of the popular vote in a Quebec election.