Liberals and caquistes rely on the apparent collapse of support for sovereignty to realize gains on the occasion of four by-elections to be held on November 9.
The head of the Future Coalition Quebec, François Legault, and Minister of International Relations and Francophonie, Christine Saint-Pierre, both claim that sovereignty is slowing. According to them, their party has a size suitable candidate to remove the fort Castle PQ René-Lévesque on the North Shore.
The ancestor of the CAQ, Democratic Action, had already removed the riding in a by-election in 2002. At that time, the district was called Saguenay.
Mr. Legault hopes to seize the opportunity to demonstrate that his party has become the real alternative to the Liberal Party of Quebec.
As he did last week, he appealed to nationalists and those who want to defend Quebec’s identity in order to block the government and to prevent the Liberals remain in power too long. He invited them to join the CAQ in order to “send a strong message to Ottawa rather keep dreaming Neverland Parti Québécois.”
As for Ms. Saint-Pierre, she hopes that her party will take advantage of the growth achieved by the federal Liberals in the elections on 19 October which brought them to power in Ottawa. However, she refuses to believe that the sovereignist threat was struck down for good.
“When you look at the results of the federal election, 80% of the vote went the federalist side. The sovereignty option is down 20%. It is clear to us, Quebecers have really chosen federalism, but at the same time an idea does not die. We must not think that the opponents will disappear, “she has said.
In the elections of 2014, the PQ Marjolain Dufour had obtained a majority of votes in that constituency 6663.
Three other districts will be at stake during the elections of November 9: Saint-Henri-Sainte-Anne, Fabre and Beauce-Sud.
While acknowledging that his party has a hill to climb just to remove the first two districts, Mr. Legault is confident of adding Beauce-Sud in the lap of his party. The CAQ came very close to winning in 2012, being second only to 650 votes by Liberal Robert Dutil. In 2014, the story was different: Mr. Dutil being re-elected by a majority of 4146 votes.
Mr. Legault believes that Beaucerons are shocked promises that were not kept by Philippe Couillard, particularly on electricity rates, childcare, school taxes. The cuts in education and increasing the sales tax (QST) also reacted voters.
“The important thing is to send the message that there is an alternative for those who are not sovereignists and send a strong message to Philippe Couillard we can not accept having broken promises about the increase in taxes and tariffs, “he said.
For her part, Christine St. Pierre said it will help the Liberal candidate in Saint-Henri-Sainte-Anne and Fabre. She acknowledged that the issue of fiscal balance “is not easy, but people on the ground tell us that we must continue and must work hard until the end.”
In 2014, the Liberals got comfortable majorities in these two counties. Marguerite Blais had won by over 11,000 votes in Saint-Henri-Sainte-Anne, while the majority of Gilles Ouimet exceeded 12,000 votes in Fabre.