Thursday, November 6, 2008

Quebec election set for Dec. 8th

This is from the Star.

Charest seems to think that he can pull off the steady at the helm ploy and the pleading for a majority better than Harper. Two different parties but same strategy. It will be interesting to see if Charest comes out any better than Harper. Perhaps Charest will be punished for calling an election just after a federal election and when as with Harper it seemed not to be necessary.

Quebecers set to vote, again - Canada - Quebecers set to vote, again
Charest focuses on economy in calling election for Dec. 8 that will be province's sixth in five years
November 06, 2008 Andrew ChungQUEBEC BUREAU CHIEF
MONTREAL–Quebec residents will experience their sixth election campaign in five years, now that Premier Jean Charest has called a provincial vote for Dec. 8.
While the opposition described his actions as a cynical ploy, Charest, who led a minority government, wasted no time in trying to shape the tenor for the coming month. Had Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois or Mario Dumont, leader of Action démocratique du Québec, been in the premier's seat, Quebec today would be in dire financial straits, he charged.
"If we had listened to Pauline Marois or Mario Dumont, today Quebec would be in recession," Charest said. "Middle-class families would have less money. There would be fewer jobs and more unemployed."
Placards displayed the Liberals' campaign slogan: "The Economy First."
"We have managed the economic file well," Charest said.
The premier was speaking at a news conference on the picturesque Promenade Samuel-de Champlain in Quebec City after visiting Lieutenant-Governor Pierre Duchesne and asking him to dissolve the National Assembly.
At dissolution, the Liberals had 48 seats in the National Assembly, the ADQ 39 seats and the PQ 36.
This will be Quebecers' sixth election in five years, counting federal and provincial votes. The last provincial election was in March 2007.
Charest attacked the opposition for opposing measures he said had put Quebec in position to weather turbulent economic times, including a tax cut for the middle class and billions invested in infrastructure.
On Tuesday, Finance Minister Monique Jérôme-Forget delivered an economic update that reported slowing, but still positive, growth for Quebec this fiscal year and next, which she said was thanks to the infrastructure programs.
Charest said Quebecers will pronounce upon one overarching question this election: "Which team do you trust at the time of an economic storm?" He asked voters to give his Liberals a "clear mandate to get past this storm."
Minority governments are unstable, he said. Though he said he understood that Quebecers might not want another election now, "I also know in my heart and in my soul that, as we look ahead, we're facing an economic storm and that we need, as Quebecers, to prepare. And that we can't face an economic storm with three different pairs of hands on the rudder of our ship."
Dumont accused Charest of pandering to the lowest form of politics in calling the election now. He said that, contrary to Charest's claims, abandoning the assembly and hitting the campaign trail during an economic crisis proves the premier is more concerned about power than pocketbooks.
Instead of "the economy first," Dumont said the slogan should be "the economy tossed aside."
Dumont said it was only due to partisan politics that an election is being held now, particularly since the opposition parties pledged to support the government in dealing with the economy.
The parties accused the Liberals of hiding a deficit, although Jérôme-Forget on Tuesday said that Quebec would be deficit-free for the next two years, thanks to a $2.3 billion reserve.
Quebec's auditor-general has questioned the existence of the reserve, however, pointing out that on March 31, 2007, Quebec had a $5.8 billion accumulated deficit.
Marois, whose party stands second behind the Liberals in the latest polls, said she would focus on the economy in the campaign, but would not "hide" the party's raison-d'être: sovereignty.

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