Days 31 and 32: September 22 and 23, 2018

Following the tornado which hit Gatineau on Friday, the four party leaders modified their campaign itineraries to go there to take note of the extent of the damage. Philippe Couillard and Jean-François Lisée, as well as Manon Massé and François Legault later in the day, visited together, which was commended by the city mayor. Early voting started Sunday and the party leaders encouraged people to go vote. The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, refuted allegations that no new agreement on NAFTA had been agreed upon for internal political reasons such as the elections in Quebec and New Brunswick. Early voting will take place until Monday night.

Philippe Couillard defended the Liberal candidate in Laurier-Dorion, George Tsantrizos, who was heavily criticized for not accepting interviews with provincial media. “He is leading the campaign he wishes to lead. He does not have any instructions from us, but if he speaks more to the media in his area, I understand that, and I encourage him to do so. If you go see him, he will respond to your questions,” declared the QLP leader.

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During a press conference on the south shore of Montreal on Sunday, Jean-François Lisée promised, “faster diagnoses and services that are better supported over time for children living with a handicap, an intellectual impairment or autism spectrum disorders.”  Over four years, the PQ plans on investing close to $60 million for children with an intellectual impairment, $30 million for those with an autism spectrum disorder and $24 million for handicapped youth.

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François Legault had to defend his candidate in La Prairie, Christian Dubé, who received a bonus of $1.8 million after leaving the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. Mr. Legault said he was not offended, although the CAQ has long denounced the bonuses given to senior officials in government. During his visit to the Outaouais region, Mr. Legault declared that it was likely that a CAQ government would maintain the SAQ’s monopoly. This declaration followed the publication Friday of a study by PriceWaterHouseCoopers commissioned by the government on the business model of the SAQ, which concluded that “all the scenarios of privatization and increase of competition present a significant proportion of negative impacts when compared to the status quo.”

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As the latest polls indicate an increase in voter intentions in favour of Québec solidaire, Manon Massé believes that her party will win seats in ridings outside of Montreal including in Quebec City. During a press conference in front of the Quebec national assembly building, the co-spokesperson of QS specified the party’s plan to achieve Quebec independence. Ms. Massé announced that a “[QS] government would call on the Minister of Finances to study the economic viability of such a project,” and if the conclusions of the study were negative, QS would not oppose them.

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