Elections: What's in store for the final days of campaigning? | Elections Quebec 2022
Once the second leaders' debate is over, the parties begin their final sprint.
All marathon runners hit it two-thirds of their way through: the infamous wall! The one that keeps them from accelerating for two or three kilometers, but which, once crossed, gives them a boost of energy until they reach the finish line. The cliché can very well apply to the leaders of the parties in the electoral campaign.
Their wall, they crossed it between the first and the second debate: when they could not too get away from Montreal, where the two exercises are being held, and for which they also had to stop almost everything to prepare for these capital games.
The last week of the campaign usually marks a turning point for the leaders' caravans. They have little time left to press the accelerator and get to their destination. And now Hurricane Fiona, which is hitting the east of the province, invites itself into the race and comes to confuse the cards of this end of the course.
Here is an overview of the final sprint of each formation.
François Legault had planned to go to the Magdalen Islands long before the arrival of the storm Fiona. His visit on Monday will allow him to see the damage and provide support to the victims. The riding was already part of his itinerary for a very simple reason: for 60 years, the hearts of the Madelinots have been swinging between the Parti Québécois and the Liberal Party of Quebec. Since they are not loyal in politics, the CAQ leader thinks he can seduce them with former mayor Jonathan Lapierre, who has always been in competition with PQ MP Joël Arseneau.
François Legault had not been to Gaspésie in 2018. People there have long memories! He still gets blamed for it four years later, even though he went there during his tenure. This time, it is a must, especially if the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) hopes to grab Eastern Quebec, a territory occupied by the Parti Québécois.
In addition to Gaspésie, you can almost guess the route of the CAQ bus. We say almost for three reasons: first, political formations do not want to reveal their background to opponents for strategic reasons. Second, the Sûreté du Québec asks them not to do so to ensure their safety. Third, everything can change at the last minute!
Le chef de la CAQ François Legault went to Bas-Saint Laurent to promise improved access to natural areas in Quebec.
Using internal systems, political parties centralize information about their supporters, allowing them to determine where to focus their efforts. The CAQ uses its own software, the Coaliste, to identify seizable or endangered counties.
Thus, we can predict that François Legault's team will be tempted to follow the same path as in 2018. At the time, at the end of the election campaign, the bus had gone to the Outaouais, then in Abitibi.
As the Horne Foundry file put the government on the defensive during the summer, bypassing the riding of Rouyn-Noranda-Témiscamingue would send a very negative message to voters of the region. It would therefore be surprising if François Legault did not go there.
After Abitibi, the CAQ leader could head for Nord-du-Québec. He wants to keep the riding of Ungava with his outgoing MP Denis Lamothe, while the other parties are waging a fierce fight against him.
The PQ called on a former federal MP (Christine Moore), while QS (Maïtée Labrecque-Saganash) and the PLQ (Tunu Napartuk) are both presenting an indigenous candidate to represent the region. Moreover, the county of Ungava is known to often change color during the elections. Nothing is taken for granted.
Everything suggests that François Legault will go through the North Shore to resume his missed appointment. The CAQ leader had set foot in Tadoussac on the day of the Queen's death, before canceling all his announcements, out of respect for Her Majesty.
Throughout this epic, the objective will not be to formulate new commitments, but rather to repeat them, to mobilize the troops, and to remind them to go and vote.
Unlike François Legault, it is already certain that Dominique Anglade will not be able to visit all the administrative regions of Quebec by the end of the campaign. For the PLQ, this is an abnormal situation.
It is also quite a contrast with the campaign led by Philippe Couillard in 2018. During the first campaign week, the Liberal leader had notably visited the Saguenay and the Bas-Saint-Laurent. Two easily accessible regions, but where Ms. Anglade has still not been.
The Liberal leader has not yet gone to Gaspésie, Côte-Nord and Nord-du-Québec. For a chef who seeks to seduce rural areas by talking about her Charter of the Regions, these absences are so many missed opportunities to sell her project.
Behind the scenes, we understand that a plane trip is in the cards and should take place by the end of the campaign. If we rely on the places where the PLQ is best positioned, it is in the Nord-du-Québec that this possible theft could materialize.
Of course, the places Ms. Anglade has not been to are not Liberal strongholds. Taking a full day to go to Matane-Matapédia, for example, would not have allowed the PLQ to win this riding in which it came very close to not even having a candidate.
Dominique Anglade is likely to spend a lot of time in the greater Montreal area from here on election day.
Still, a traveling leader brings local media coverage, helps publicize her candidates and keeps her riding associations motivated. For a party going through a historic trough, these elements are not to be neglected.
Ms. Anglade has challenges ahead of her, however, and her organization's choices are easily explained: Liberal strongholds are threatened in the Outaouais, Laval and on the island of Montreal.
Even the riding run by the leader, Saint-Henri-Sainte-Anne, is likely to be the subject of a heated contest that could keep voters awake very late on election night.
Internally, the Liberal team does not show too much concern about the re-election of the leader. A few stops are indeed planned in his riding, nothing more.
However, the metropolis and its surroundings risk remaining the main playground of the PLQ until October 3, because it is especially there that its possibility of remaining the official opposition is played out in front of Québec solidaire (QS), which blows in its neck.
For this last campaign blitz, the orange caravan of QS will criss-cross the ridings of Montreal.
The party may try to get rid of its Montreal party label by asserting its victories in Rouyn-Noranda-Témiscamingue and Sherbrooke during the last election, it is still in the metropolis that it can hope to make the more earnings.
Co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois could even return to the ridings where his opponents Dominique Anglade and Paul Saint-Pierre-Plamondon are running, even if it breaks an unwritten rule that a party leader does not campaign in the riding of another leader.
QS believes it has a chance of defeating the Liberal leader in Saint-Henri-Sainte-Anne and seizing the riding of Camille-Laurin, where the PQ leader is trying to get elected for the first time.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois scoring
Outside Montreal, Quebec Solidaire is betting on its chances in Estrie. In addition to the riding of Sherbrooke, which the party believes it can keep, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois will not spare his efforts in Saint-François, where he is counting on the former director of public health in Estrie, the Dr. Mélissa Généreux.
The caravan will also head for Rimouski. Québec solidaire believes that the student vote can allow it to cause surprise there as it had in Sherbrooke in 2018.
Now it remains to be seen whether the party will judge necessary to make a last visit to Abitibi to ensure the re-election of Émilise Lessard-Therrien in the riding of Rouyn-Noranda-Témiscamingue.
At the end of the marathon, however, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois will not be able to boast of having toured Quebec. The co-spokesperson will not go to the Côte-Nord.
In the solidarity team, we deny having neglected the North Coast voters and we specify that Manon Massé campaigned there aboard her mobile Manon.
Everyone laughs at us with our two co-spokespersons, but we see that it&# x27;is an advantage and it allows us to cast a wider net, explains Simone Lirette, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois's press officer.
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As during a long road trip, political formations in the electoral campaign must avoid obstacles. Talk to Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, who had to temporarily suspend his campaign on Friday because he was experiencing flu symptoms.
Once the pothole in COVID-19 averted, however, another contingency awaited: Storm Fiona. The Parti Québécois team had not planned to go to the Magdalen Islands so far, but it hastened to book a plane to get there on Monday. That's an election campaign, we heard on the bus.
The objective of this trip to the archipelago is to see the damage caused by the rain and strong winds, to support the Madelinots, but also to encourage the re-election of the outgoing deputy, Joël Arseneau, while he is neck and neck in voting intentions with his CAQ opponent Jonathan Lapierre.
PQ leader Paul Saint-Pierre-Plamondon is experiencing flu-like symptoms that force him to temporarily suspend his campaign.
Then, in the home stretch, the PQ intends to make a blitz, in particular to protect its assets. Let us think for example of Eastern Quebec, where he won the majority of his victories in 2018, in the ridings of René-Lévesque and Duplessis on the North Shore, but also in those of Rimouski, Matane-Matapédia, Bonaventure and Gaspe.
A return to Jonquière, the only PQ bastion in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean to have resisted the CAQ attack in the last ballot, is not excluded either.
However, a good part of the efforts in the coming days will also be concentrated in the greater Montreal area. The Parti Québécois of course wants to defend the territory of Joliette, in Lanaudière, but it also wants to make gains where it has already had success, including in Marie-Victorin, Rosemont and Pointe-aux-Trembles.
Without forgetting, of course, Camille-Laurin. The riding, formerly called Bourget, was represented by a PQ MP for 24 years, from 1994 until the CAQ's victory in 2018. This is where Paul St-Pierre Plamondon is trying to get elected. This is the constituency he has been to most often so far, six times, and he will be there again on Monday evening to take part in another debate with the local candidates from the other parties.
Driven by the momentum of the debates, the leader of the Parti Québécois intends to get to his destination, but the road he will take until then promises to be winding.
Unsurprisingly, the Conservative Party of Quebec (PCQ) will concentrate its ultimate efforts where it has a chance of making inroads, that is to say in the greater Quebec City region.
Even though Éric Duhaime traveled to Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Mauricie and Centre-du-Québec at the start of the campaign, he spends most of his time between the Capitale-Nationale and Chaudière-Appalaches. The scenario will be similar for the home straight. The party intends to visit the ridings of Bellechasse, Lotbinière-Frontenac and Portneuf in which it is given second in the voting intentions.
The Conservative leader should also return to the riding of Chauveau, in the northern suburbs of Quebec, where he is trying to get elected and dislodge the outgoing CAQ deputy, Sylvain Lévesque. The CAQ does not need yet another backbencher!, Éric Duhaime said on Saturday as he appealed to Chauveau voters to vote Conservative.
Although he is leading a national campaign, Éric Duhaime especially wants to enter the National Assembly and he is stepping up his efforts in this constituency deemed fertile for the Conservative vote. I have 125 ridings to visit, but obviously we can't do them all, and I can't spend the whole campaign in my riding. But I try to come back as often as possible, he said.
At the time of writing, returning to Beauce was not in the cards of the Conservative caravan. Éric Duhaime has only made two rather brief stops there since the start of the campaign.
However, the Conservative candidates in Beauce-Sud and Beauce-Nord, Jonathan Poulin and Olivier Dumais, are neck and neck with the outgoing CAQ deputies. Internally, the team seems confident for this region known for its conservative leanings. However, as mentioned above, everything can still change, especially for this small team which is in its first major national campaign.
Electoral campaign: already more than 25,000 kilometers traveled