PQ, Liberals in tight race as Quebec election campaign gets underway

Andy Radia
·Politics Reporter

It's official: On Wednesday morning, Quebec Premier Pauline Marois met with her province's Lieutenant-Governor to dissolve the National Assembly.

Quebecers will cast their votes on April 7th.

Marois told reporters that after 18 months as a minority government, her Parti Quebecois needed a majority to move their agenda forward.

"The Liberals and the [Coalition Avenir Quebec] are blocking the government’s plan. They said they would defeat the budget. . . we need to stop this blockage by the opposition," she said in a brief statement, according to the Globe and Mail.

"That is why I have taken the decision [to call an election] with my cabinet."

[ Related: Let the games begin: Pauline Marois expected to call Quebec election for April 7 ]

As of today, it doesn't look like the election will significantly change the make-up of Quebec's legislature.

Using the most recent opinion polls, a polling analyst suggests that the race is a close one but that the Parti Quebecois are on track to win another minority government.

Bryan Breguet — whose analysis is used regularly by Le Journal De Montreal — predicts 62 seats for the PQ compared 56 seats for Philippe Couillard's Liberals.

Per cent support

Seat projections

Parti Quebecois

37.7%

62

Liberals

35.4%

56

CAQ

16.0%

5

Quebec Solidaire

7.0%

2

"I think this survey gives us a good idea of the situation at the beginning of this campaign," he wrote, in French, on his blog on Tuesday.

"The PQ and PLQ are almost equal, the PQ has an advantage in terms of seats because of the voting system (or, if you prefer, the concentration of the Liberal vote)."

But of course, a lot can change during the course of an election campaign.

[ Related: Quebec Premier Pauline Marois celebrates hockey gold but snubs Canada ]

So, for the next month, get ready for a lot of news out Quebec.

On an online podcast at the Montreal Gazette's website, senior political correspondent Phil Authier outlined what the themes of the election might be.

The Liberals want the election to be on health and education and public finance -- the economy and jobs. These are the Liberal strong points," Authier suggested.

"The CAQ wants it to be on waste and argue that the two old parties are tired.

"And the PQ is going to say we're a proud people we want to move ahead on things like the Charter, we want to move ahead on sovereignty and these guys are blocking us."

It's game on!

(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)

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