Will the "Jean Charest" effect have effect on voters?

The name of former Quebec premier Jean Charest has been mentioned several times recently during this election campaign, especially by the PQ in an attempt to discredit the Quebec Liberals led by Philippe Couillard. But will it work? Bruce Hicks, a political science professor at Carleton university, said he doesn't think the Jean Charest effect will have any effect on voters. "Voters evaluate the current government, not the previous government," Hicks told CJAD 800 News. "They pass judgement on whether they like the PQ or not." Hicks said the Quebec Liberals purposefully chose Couillard as leader because he was not closely associated with Charest. Hicks said while much has been made of the fact that many MNAs from the Charest government are on the current Liberal roster, he said he doesn't think most voters pay much attention to those details. "Different voters have a different level of attention. Those who will decide this election are "low-information" voters, who don't pay attention to politics and specifics about this issue or that candidate," Hicks said. Hicks said the time lapse between governments is a factor, adding that "18 months is a long time" since the Charest Liberals were ousted at the polls. Guy Lachapelle, political science professor at Concordia University, said it's not surprising that the record of the previous Liberal government would come back to haunt current politicians since they were in power for so long and preceded a minority government. "The game is just to remind the voters who have short memories that there was these kind of scandals during the Charest years," Lachapelle told CJAD 800 News. Lachapelle said he's not certain how effective the strategy is. "A big effect? That's the question. I'm not sure it's a big effect. I think federalists remain federalists, sovereignists remain sovereignists. Of course, it's the middle of the road voters who are concerned about the integrity question of corruption," Lachapelle said. Lachapelle said most people in general think all political parties are corrupt and that Couillard should worry more about his own personal image and ethics in this campaign to sway voters, especially in light of reports that Couillard put more than half a million dollars in a bank account in a Jersey island tax haven when he was working in Saudi Arabia. The Liberal party says everything was done by the book and any other taxes due were declared when Couillard returned to Quebec. "Whatever he has done with Mr.Charest and even if it was not an easy ride all the time with the former premier, I think Mr.Couillard has to show that he can be a good premier."

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  1. Barcham posted on 03/27/2014 02:02 PM
    If it has any effect at all, it will just be as another sign of desperation on the part of a party who cannot stand on the issues. They cannot attack on current facts, so they have to try to bring up the past instead. Of course this has always been the strong point of the separatist movement - using the past to sow hatred, fear and distrust because they cannot find anything in the present day to support their views. Nothing new from that direction at all. It's quite sad really.
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