Voters in Quebec go the polls September 4 to elect a new provincial government. An August 24th poll by Leger Marketing
showed the Parti Quebecois (PQ) leading with 33 per cent of the vote. The newer party the CAQ(Coalition Avenir Quebec) has overtaken the ruling Liberal Party with 28% and the Liberals were third with 27%. The trend seems to be favoring the CAQ as both Liberal and the PQ seem to be losing votes to the CAQ.
The CAQ party leader Francois Legault is playing down the whole idea of a referendum on Quebec independence. Legault claims he is a nationalist rather than a sovereigntist or federalist meaning that he neither supports independence for Quebec nor does he support a federalist government. The first is the position of the PQ and the second of the ruling Liberal Party. Only 45% of Quebecers in an Angus Reid poll believe Legault would oppose sovereignty. Legault was a minister in a former PQ government before leaving the party.
Charest continually warns voters that to vote for CAQ is the same as voting PQ. Legault has said he would vote "no" if there is a third referendum. Legault promises to keep the issue on the backburner for a decade if his party wins the election. Legault promises
that if elected:
“I will defend neither sovereignty nor Canadian unity.”
While a somewhat negative promise no doubt it is meant to distinguish his position from that of the Liberals and the PQ. Legault's tactics seem to be working. The CAQ has attracted up to a quarter of those who voted Liberal last election and even 15% from the PQ. The PQ is holding on to more of their voters than the Liberals.
Legault did well in a debate with the other two leaders according to many. He also echoed Obama's successful slogan "Yes, we can." by insisting "We can do it." Legault
is critical of the power of Quebec unions. He is likely to capture right wing votes even among anglophones.