Quebec party leaders step out on last day of campaign

Quebec party leaders step out on last day of campaign

Quebec party leaders are making their last campaign stops Sunday before Quebecers head to the polls.

While Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) Leader François Legault spent the morning speaking with shoppers in Montreal and Magog, opposition leaders addressed the end of the campaign.

Heading to Beauce-Nord, for the first time in the last month, Conservative Party of Quebec (PCQ) Leader Éric Duhaime emphasized how popularity for his party grew, likening the PCQ's campaign to David and Goliath.

"We're truly a party that came out of the shadows," he said. "We didn't have the same resources as the others."

Duhaime pointed to how his party drew attention to individual rights throughout the campaign.

"We moved the Overton window [from the left] quite a bit," he said. "I think we won the war of ideas."

The Overton window refers to public acceptance of policy ideas.

In Gaspé, Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon said he felt optimistic and very proud of the campaign he ran.

He urged Quebecers to vote and counterbalance the CAQ's power at the National Assembly.

"The CAQ doesn't need your vote, but sovereignty and the protection of French and our regions, do," he said.

"If you want a strong opposition party that cares about the French language and the environment, there's one choice: the Parti Québécois."

Martin Thibault/Radio-Canada
Martin Thibault/Radio-Canada

Shift in the campaign

Some opposition leaders addressed the incumbent premier's controversial comments on immigration from earlier this week.

"We had a divisive campaign, and it's sad," Québec Solidaire Co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois told reporters in the Montreal riding of Verdun.

Nadeau-Dubois said he was "profoundly affected" after meeting Quebecers who told him Legault's words hurt them.

"What Mr. Legault said is that some Quebecers are an existential threat, a life-threatening threat to Quebec," Nadeau-Dubois said. "I think we should not underestimate how much Mr. Legault has hurt Quebec with his comments."

"My message, today, to all the people who were hurt by those comments is that I will be there for you," he added.

WATCH | Immigration and language key themes in Quebec election: 

Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade, who will be finishing her campaign in Kuujjuaq in the north, said she felt "a shift" in the past two weeks.

"People realized the level of energy we had," she said. "The second debate also allowed us to really present our proposals, so I'm really positive about this."

She added that François Legault and Jean Boulet's recent comments on immigration contributed to a narrative of division.

"The comments that were made this week just reinforc[e] the message that we've had all long: necessity of unity in order to fight François Legault."

Asked whether she felt frustrated at the unlikelihood of forming a government, Anglade said she thinks voters will surprise a lot of pollsters.

"At the end of the day, what we need is people to go out and vote and express their voices," she added.

In response to the opposition's criticism, Legault told reporters in Sherbrooke this afternoon that his goal is to unite Quebecers.  

"What we need to do is develop Quebec with anglophones and newcomers, with everyone," he said. "It's not always easy to talk about how we protect French."

He said he hopes to win more ridings in Montreal, but he's not taking "anything for granted."