Québec Solidaire candidate seen switching out leaflets withdraws from race

Québec Solidaire candidate seen switching out leaflets withdraws from race

A Québec Solidaire candidate running against Paul St-Pierre Plamondon in the Montreal riding of Camille-Laurin has apologized after security camera video circulating on social media showed her removing a PQ campaign leaflet from a mailbox and replacing it with her own.

Marie-Eve Rancourt apologized to St-Pierre Plamondon on social media and, at first, said she was committed to finishing the campaign in respect of the rules. But by day's end, she had offered to withdraw from the campaign and QS co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois had accepted the offer.

"I am not thrilled but it was the right decision and I support her," Nadeau-Dubois told reporters. He said he had had a frank talk with Rancourt, a lawyer, who had apologized for what she described as a serious error in judgment.

The homeowner, Guy Misson, told Radio-Canada he posted the picture because he was angry that a candidate would do something so "unacceptable" whatever party they were affiliated with.

Following Rancourt's withdrawal, Élections Québec said those who already voted for her will have their votes cancelled. They will not be able to vote again.

Those who planned to vote QS will now have to choose a different party.

St-Pierre Plamondon stands to benefit from Rancourt's withdrawal because the PQ and Québec Solidaire have some similar voters, who support Quebec independence and strong action on climate change.

However, the riding was won by the CAQ in 2018 and polls show the incumbent, Richard Campeau, is in the lead over the PQ leader.

Meanwhile, St-Pierre Plamondon admitted Tuesday that one of his party volunteers had stolen electoral pamphlets belonging to the CAQ in Mascouche, Que., which is north of Montreal.

Yannick Cournoyer/Radio-Canada
Yannick Cournoyer/Radio-Canada

Advance polling nearly double 2018 level

The percentage of Quebec voters who have cast an early ballot has almost doubled compared with the last election, the province's elections office said Monday.

About 13 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots on Sunday — the first of two advanced polling days — up from about seven per cent after the first early polling day in the 2018 election, according to Élections Québec.

Seven of the 10 ridings that reported the highest turnouts on Sunday were in the greater Quebec City area, where the incumbent Coalition Avenir Québec is facing a challenge from the Conservatives led by Eric Duhaime.

The high turnout in the region bodes well for the Conservatives because people who are motivated to vote are often people who want a change in government, Duhaime told reporters Monday in the Montreal suburb of Laval. "When we see there's a lot of people participating, we think it's a good sign," Duhaime said.

"We do believe more people participating means people are looking for a change."

But the Tory leader said despite the high polling numbers — the Conservatives are polling between 16 and 19 per cent depending on the survey — his party isn't assured of winning a single seat in the 125-seat legislature because of the distribution of the vote and the fact there is a tight, four-way race between the four main opposition parties.

Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade on Monday said her party is the best prepared to deal with a recession, accusing the CAQ of failing to anticipate the inflation crisis and struggling to recognize the persistent problem of labour shortages.

Speaking to reporters in Montreal, she promised $4 billion for education infrastructure, including $500 million to improve ventilation in schools.