When the Quebec election was called at the beginning of August, it was in the shadow of protests by students caught in their own war over tuition, and allegations of corruption in the construction industry.
Economic storm clouds also hung over the province, and while they haven't cleared, the tuition fight and corruption allegations have not consumed the headlines as much as expected in the somewhat unusual, for Quebec, three-way race between Jean Charest's embattled Liberals, Pauline Marois's aspiring Parti Québécois and François Legault's upstart Coalition Avenir Québec.
It has been a campaign with no little confusion: Where exactly does Legault, a former PQ member, stand on Quebec sovereignty? Just how — and when — might a referendum unfold under Marois? And how would the parties pay for all their economic promises?
Those questions may not just be on the minds of Quebec voters marking their ballots Tuesday, they could also resonate across Canada.
"Quebec elections are different from those in other provinces in one important respect: they are the only ones in which the future of the country is at stake," author L. Ian MacDonald wrote in the Montreal Gazette on Aug. 28.
Here's a look at five ways the Quebec election should be of interest to the rest of Canada.
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