Saturday, March 17, 2007

Liberals heading for minority govt. in Quebec?

THe ADQ certainly seems to be giving the PQ and Liberals a real battle. As for the referendum it surely would be disastrous for the PQ to hold a referendum at this point in time.

PQ minority could hold referendum
Boisclair says `democratic authority' would exist even without a majority

Mar 17, 2007 04:30 AM
Sean Gordon
Quebec Bureau Chief

MONTREAL–With a new poll pointing to an increasing likelihood of a minority government, Parti Québécois Leader André Boisclair said yesterday he would still have the legitimacy to hold a sovereignty referendum even if he wins by the slimmest of margins.

At a campaign stop in the Gaspé region of eastern Quebec, Boisclair said "of course" when asked if he would have the democratic authority to propose a referendum even if his party only won with a simple plurality of votes.

But he refused to go into greater detail, saying "you're asking me to speculate. I think we're going to have a majority PQ government."

Later in the evening, on a flight to the Magdalen Islands, Boisclair nuanced his comments by telling reporters, "I never raised the eventuality of a minority government – we will win a majority government."

Action démocratique du Québec Leader Mario Dumont scoffed at the possibility of a referendum in the case of a minority government, saying "anyone who follows politics has understood there will not be a referendum during the next mandate. That much is clear."

A new Léger Marketing poll this week, that places the PQ, Liberals and ADQ in a statistical tie, gives weight to the prospect of a minority government.

The poll also showed the Liberals trail the PQ and ADQ by 10 percentage points among francophone voters with nine days to go before the March 26 vote.

Liberal Premier Jean Charest was loath to even utter the word "minority" as he made a campaign stop in the eastern Quebec city of Rimouski, sticking to his standard response that he refuses to comment on polls.

"I have a very good feeling about this election campaign ... We will have a Liberal majority government," he said.

Dumont said he wouldn't read too much into the poll, which also reports that almost 70 per cent of respondents expect a minority government, and more than 60 per cent believe Charest will lead it.

But for the time being, the momentum is behind Dumont and Boisclair, who have narrowed the gap with the front-running Charest in recent days.

The ADQ leader said he isn't interested in forming a coalition in the event of a minority.

"In the case where we don't have a majority government, the one with the most seats makes the decisions that need to be made, and must find, on each policy matter, allies to act in the best interests of the population," he said.

The Léger poll, released late Thursday, showed the Liberals at 33 per cent support, and the PQ and ADQ with 30 per cent apiece. The survey contacted 1,000 people and is considered accurate within 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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