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August 01, 2012
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Thousands of people marched in downtown Montreal on Wednesday night to send a message to Premier Jean Charest: the pots-and-pans-banging public is coming after his Quebec Liberals.
A large number of police kept a watchful eye on the protest. The march was mostly peaceful but declared illegal at 8:55 pm.
An hour and three-quarters after police converged on the protest at Mansfield and Ste. Catherine breaking it up and making 15 arrests. The charges range from bylaw infractions to aggravated assault.
As the province was plunged into a summer election, student activists invited people to gather for a so-called casserole protest on the first night of the campaign.
Protesters who converged from several parts of the city not only banged pots and pans as they carried a red flag down St-Denis Street, they chanted loudly and set off fireworks.
One had a large sign blinking the number 100 to mark the 100th nightly protest, ...
The province's newest party says Quebec needs change.
The leader of the Coalition Avenir du Québec, Francois Legault, a former PQ cabinet minister, says his party can bring about true change.
He says Quebecers "need a manager to clean up corruption, clean up bureaucracy, eliminate waste."
Legault has promised there'll be no talk of separation for a decade, if he wins the election.
He adds his government would focus on economic growth and education.
The leaders of Quebec's CEGEP and University students said they will be on the campaign trail in 2012 today.
The Federation of Quebec University Students (FEUQ) and the Federation of Quebec College Students (FECQ) will have "campaign events" in 25 different ridings accross the province.
"You can expect protests, you can expect a lot of events, a lot of meeting with citizens in this campaign," said President of the FEUQ Martine Desjardins.
Student groups will use social media, protests and even calling students at home to encourage them to vote.
"Our big objective is going to be that all the young (people) will go and vote on the fourth of September," said President of the FECQ Éliane Laberge.
Voter turnout for 18-35 year olds in the 2008 provincal election was below 50 percent according to Laberge.
Jean Charest will not win this campaign by being nice. He won't win by being optimistic. And he won't win by convincing Quebecers that his government has changed this province for the better over the last decade.
This will be a negative, nasty campaign. He will focus on the weaknesses of his opponents and drum up fear with the two S's: Students and sovereignty.
I'll be providing analysis for CJAD throughout the campaign and commentary for The National Post; you can read my latest column here.
As the photo suggests, Charest will show his claws. Buckle up!
Quebec Solidaire announced its 2012 election platform hours before election was called.
He promises to protect natural resources, expand electric transportation, guaranteed retirement income based on earnings, free education and Quebec independence.
"Citizens want a profound change in the Quebec political culture," said Amir Khadir, leader of Quebec Solidaire.
Free education he said will be funded by cutting some 90 billion dollars in corporate tax cuts.
"When you have access to good quality services, free, paid by the tax of corporate business," Khadir explained. "This lowers your financial burden."
The party said it will release its financial plan on August 10th.
CJAD's Laura Casella was in Quebec City this morning as Premier Jean Charest met with Lieutenant Pierre Duchesne, asking him to dissolve the National Assembly, paving the way for a Sept. 4 election.
(THE CANADIAN PRESS) Premier Jean Charest has announced plans to call a provincial election, with all signs pointing to a vote on Sept. 4.
Should Charest win, he would tie a provincial record with four consecutive victories. But his Liberals are involved a tough three-way race and, if the polls are to be believed, they will enter the campaign as underdog against the Parti Quebecois.
The campaign's dark horse is the Coalition for Quebec's Future; the new party has attracted much attention with its promise to bring together separatists and federalists while improving the economy.
The Charest cabinet held its last pre-election meeting this morning in Quebec City.
With that, the premier crossed the street at 11:22 ...
For weeks, ministers have long denied there was any provincial election planned.
Yet Wednesday morning, Quebecers woke up to CAQ, PQ and Liberal election campaign posters all around the province.
Kirkland, Dorval, Lachine, the Plateau Mont-Royal all had posters up.
There was one in Lachine that featured Premier Jean Charest's face.
However, many people at the Lionel-Groulx were still comfortably in vacation mode, and unaware of a looming election.
"I don't know who I will vote for," one woman said waiting for the 211 bus. "But for Pauline Marois, I'm pretty sure no."
Pauline Marois unveiled her campaign bus in Quebec City.
Just hours before the expected election call, a public opinion survey shows the Parti Quebecois as the party of choice among decided voters.
The Leger Marketing survey gives the PQ 33 per cent support, the Liberals 31 per cent and the CAQ 21 per cent.
But, among francophones alone, the PQ stretches its lead to 39 per cent, compared to just 24 per cent support for both the Liberals and CAQ.
Although the Liberals trail the PQ in both categories, Jean Charest is still considered the best party leader to be Premier.
23 per cent of respondents named Charest, 21 per cent named Marois and 16 per cent said Francois Legault.
Photo Credit: Canadian Press