Premier Jean Charest the leader of the provincial Quebec Liberal party has called a provincial election for September 4, 2012. The last election was held December 8, 2008. Charest won last time with a small majority of the seats. But this time it looks like it will be much more difficult to equal that result. In the 2008 election the federalist politician who was originally the federal leader of the Progressive Conservative party which no longer sits in Parliament having been absorbed by the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance party to form the Conservative party of Canada, won 42.8 % of the vote and 66 seats in the 125 seat national assembly . There is little liklihood of such a good result this time based on current polling.In the most recent poll the Liberals are running second behind the sovereignist Parti Quebecois led by Pauline Marois which attracts 33 % of those polled versus 31 % for the Liberals. The third party,CAQ, a neo-con leaning party under the leadership of François Legault who previously was a a PQ cabinet minister but now promises to put sovereignty on the back burner for a decade attracts 21 % in the poll. The coalition for the future of Québec or C.A.Q. for short in French would win 11 seats , the Liberals 52 seats and the P.Q. 60 seats. The Liberals lead among non francophones and on the island of Montreal. The PQ leads among francophones and off the island.
The fourth party a sovereignist socialist party, Québec solidaire led by a doctor Amir Khadir who was arrested for violating the highway safety code while demonstrating in support of the striking students protesting the controversial Bill 78 which banned demonstrations without prior notice and a parade permit is running at 8.5% and 2 seats. So the election is likely to be close.
The issues are health care underfunding, the controversy over tuition fees,the problem of corruption in the construction industry, civil liberties and the authoritarian response of the Liberals to student protests to the proposed increases, economic instability if sovereignty once again becomes a leading question in Québec, social exclusion and poverty ,high unemployment among certain sectors of the society, economic development strategy and responsible leadership. If it were not for the fact that we are in the middle of our beautiful hot but always too short summer here in Québec people might be excited. But in truth the party that voters dislike the least and believe can win and govern will emerge the victor of a likely minority government come September.