Quebec election campaign begins as CAQ holds commanding lead in polls

·2 min read

Quebec's general election campaign has officially begun, and the leaders of the five major parties have about five weeks to win over voters ahead of the Oct. 3 vote.

Outgoing Quebec Premier François Legault tried to remain humble on Sunday, as the polls indicated that it's his election to lose and his party is on its way to winning a bigger majority than it secured during the last general election in 2018.

"We are taking nothing for granted," he told reporters about one hour after his meeting with Lt.-Gov. J. Michel Doyon, during which the representative of the Crown dissolved the legislature and declared the general election.

"If there is one thing I learned in politics, it's that trust is earned every day."

Legault is the election veteran among the five leaders of major parties, having run as CAQ leader in the 2012, 2014 and 2018 campaigns. His four main opponents have never campaigned during a general election as leaders of a political party.

Meanwhile, Quebec Liberal Party Leader Dominique Anglade was already dogged by questions Sunday morning about the fallen stature of her once-mighty party. Despite being the official opposition before the legislature was dissolved, the Liberals have less than 17 per cent support, according to the latest Leger poll — and they are polling at about seven per cent with the francophone majority.

"We are a big party of the economy," Anglade told reporters in Quebec City.

She shrugged off the polls and said the campaign was an opportunity to "restart at zero."

"The economy will be the ballot box question. I will challenge (Legault) on the economy; I will challenge him to say that labour shortages are a good thing," she said, in reference to previous comments from the outgoing premier, who has said that labour shortages are positive because they push up wages.

The leaders of Québec solidaire, the Parti Québécois and the Quebec Conservative Party are all scheduled to speak to reporters later on Sunday.

Before the dissolution of the legislature, Legault's party had 76 seats, while the Quebec Liberals had 27, Québec solidaire had 10 and the Parti Québécois had seven. The Conservative Party of Quebec held one seat and there were four Independents.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 28, 2022.

Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press