With just ten days to go until the Quebec election, Liberal Party Leader Jean Charest said the only way Quebecers will be able "to avoid chaos" is by voting for his party on Sept. 4.
Charest was at a campaign stop in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville to discuss changes his party would make to ease access to health care in all regions — including the expenditure of $15M on a helicopter ambulance service and $40M for 10 new telemedicine projects.
Charest refused, as usual, to comment on the latest poll, which shows the Coalition Avenir Québec gaining ground over the Liberals.
"Polls are not reliable," said Charest. "They never have been. How many times do we have to show you that?"
Liberals in a downward trend
The Leger Marketing survey , done for the QMI news agency, puts support for the Parti Québécois at 33 per cent, followed by the CAQ at 28 per cent and the Liberals, in third place, at 27 per cent.
The online poll surveyed just over 1,900 people and has a margin of error of 2.2 per cent.
With the numbers so close, the poll reflects a downward trend for the Liberals rather than a formal loss in voters.
The poll states that fewer than one out of five francophones is supporting the Liberals.
But a feisty Charest appeared nonplussed.
"Have I ever been in a campaign where it's been anything else than an uphill battle? Frankly, no," said Charest. "I don't remember any of my campaigns when we started in a position where we were supposed to be. It's never happened, and it's not going to happen in this campaign. – I like the results. I don't win polls."
The Liberal leader took the opportunity to slam the CAQ for its plan to slash public sector jobs — likening it to the cuts made by the PQ government when both CAQ leader François Legault and PQ leader Pauline Marois were in cabinet in the late 1990s.
"Are we not still paying the price for that today?" Charest demanded. The CAQ "is proposing the same formula...They're going to create chaos before the referendum. The only difference is, Marois is going to hold a referendum to create chaos."
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Jean Charest Facts
Here's a look at Jean Charest's life and career.
Law degree from Universite de Sherbrooke.
Elected as Conservative MP for Sherbrooke in 1984 and served there until 1998; became youngest federal minister in Canadian history in 1986, as minister for youth, but had to resign in 1990 after improperly calling a judge about a case; returned to cabinet as environment minister in 1991; deputy prime minister from June 25, 1993, until Nov. 3, 1993; leader of federal Progressive Conservative party from 1993 to 1998; became leader of Quebec Liberal party in 1998 and Quebec premier in 2003. Re-elected with minority government in 2007 and majority in 2008. He resigned as leader of the Quebec Liberals in 2012 after losing to the PQ in the provincial election.
Married, with three grown children.
Admitted to Quebec bar in 1981.