What are the five main parties participating in the Quebec provincial election?

Founded in 2011 by François Legault, a former PQ minister and airline executive, and Charles Sirois, a businessman who had supported the Liberals, the centre-right party has sought to move beyond the independence debate by instead promoting Quebec nationalism rather than separation from Canada.

The Legault government has strengthened the province’s French language law and banned some public servants, including teachers and police officers, from wearing religious symbols at work. He also proactively invoked the notwithstanding clause to protect these two controversial laws from Charter challenges.

His government also pushed for more autonomy from Ottawa, including more power over immigration.

Legault, who has remained popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, is counting on his record and the strength of the province’s economy. Recent polls suggest he will be re-elected with a bigger majority than he won in 2018.

Quebec Liberal Party

The Liberal Party of Quebec has long positioned itself as the defender of federalism and the champion of the economy, but since 2018 the CAQ has managed to sell itself as a safe option for federalist and economic voters.

Since the last election, the Liberals have struggled to connect with Francophones and have alienated part of their Anglophone base in Montreal.

Support for the party among Quebec’s French-speaking majority is 7%, according to a recent Léger poll. And while the Liberals voted against Legault’s reform of language laws – seen by some Anglophones as an attack on their community – the party’s initially ambiguous stance created discontent among Anglophones. In response to the Liberals being seen as weak defenders of Anglophone rights, at least two new parties have emerged — the Bloc Montreal and the Parti canadien du Québec — which claim to represent the interests of the province’s linguistic minorities.

Liberal leader Dominique Anglade, who worked as a management consultant before entering politics, says her party offers a unifying alternative to Legault’s “arrogant” and “divisive” government.

Anglade, a former CAQ president who quit Legault’s party in 2015 over his stance on immigration and identity issues, is promising tax cuts for those earning less than $92,500 and a $100 billion green hydrogen plan.

Solidarity Quebec

While Québec solidaire has no traditional leader — instead, it appoints a woman and a man as “co-spokesperson” — the party’s co-spokesperson, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, is the party’s candidate for the post. of prime minister. He rose to prominence in the province as the leader of the 2012 student protests that led to months of demonstrations and made international headlines.

Nadeau-Dubois said his party would campaign to address the shortage of affordable housing in Quebec, help people cope with the rising cost of living and fight climate change.

If elected, Quebec solidaire would amend the province’s secularism law to allow public sector workers affected by the legislation to wear religious symbols at work, as long as their faces are uncovered.

And while the party worried about the potential negative effect of the CAQ’s language reform law on Indigenous communities, Québec solidaire supported the bill.

In 2018, Québec solidaire went from three seats in the Quebec Legislative Assembly to 10 as the left-wing party made gains outside of Montreal for the first time.

Parti Quebecois

The 2018 election was only the second time since 1973 that the Parti Québécois was not elected as the Quebec government or official opposition. And although the party won 10 seats in this election, it had seven members at the start of the 2022 election campaign because in the past four years two have resigned and one has been expelled following an allegation of sexual assault.

Recent polls put the PQ in fifth place with about 9% of the vote.

Chief Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, a lawyer who studied at McGill University and holds an MBA from Oxford University, says he wants to focus his campaign on Quebec sovereignty. He says the fact that Legault has to ask Ottawa for more power shows the need for independence.

The Conservative Party of Quebec

The Conservative Party of Quebec won less than 2% of the vote in the 2018 election, but since the appointment of former Quebec City radio host Éric Duhaime as leader in April 2021, the party has regularly polled around 14% .

Duhaime has garnered support from disgruntled former CAQ voters upset with the party for imposing some of the toughest COVID-19 restrictions in the country, including a curfew that lasted five months. The party has also won support from people opposed to COVID-19 vaccination mandates.

Quebec Conservatives, who are not affiliated with the Conservative Party of Canada, are campaigning for greater privatization of the health care system, lower taxes and smaller government. Duhaime said he opposes Legault’s language law reform, but supports banning religious symbols.

Prior to the dissolution of the legislature, Legault’s party had 76 seats, while the Quebec Liberals had 27, Quebec solidaire had 10, and the Parti Quebecois had seven. The Conservative Party of Quebec held one seat, and there were four independents.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 28, 2022.

Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press

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