Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois said she will spend a "modest" amount of public money to promote her party's vision of an independent Quebec, should the PQ be elected on Sept. 4.
"If we have to invest some money, it will not be a very big amount," Marois said. "We will [use it to] explain what we want to do if we [achieve] sovereignty. That is normal, because we are a sovereigntist party."
Marois has already formed a committee to promote that option — something her opponents decry as propaganda.
"Not only are they going to be spending people's tax money on working toward sovereignty studies, it's not going to be clear what they will be doing," said Yolande James, the Liberal candidate for Nelligan. "They're hiding their referendum, because they're afraid of losing the election."
But political scientist Guy Lachapelle, who has a longstanding affiliation with the PQ, said whichever party is in power ends up spending tax dollars to back its own constitutional option.
"The PQ, like the Liberals, can promote their own ideology or projects, and I think that's part of the game," the Concordia University professor said. "Mr. Charest invested money in the Council of the Federation and other things. That's part of federalism."
What is important is the government's transparency, Lachapelle said.
"Everything should be done with a sense of you cannot just spend money. Of course, you have to make it all public, and the public should know if there are documents published or anything."