Election campaign recap: Week 1 winners and losers
Updated: Sep 12, 2022
With the first week of the Québec election campaign behind us, who are the winners and losers so far?
The gold medal goes to… François Legault and Coalition avenir Québec
The CAQ has been mostly cruising along the campaign trail so far, grabbing headlines with election promises, all while avoiding major missteps. Their commitments to date include pledges to lower taxes and freeze various government tariffs, train additional doctors, invest in renovations for Québec’s schools, and fund express job training programs to help with labour shortages.
The party’s plans to fund tax cuts through a reduction in payments to Québec’s Generations Fund initially caught many economists, youth advocates and other election watchers off guard: given that this is a fund dedicated exclusively to paying off the province’s debt, this announcement seemed to contradict the CAQ’s desire to be seen as the party of the economy.
However, any eyebrows raised were soon lowered, thanks to an announcement from Québec solidaire the very next day, promising to end payments to the Generations Fund altogether, thereby restoring the CAQ's reputation as the more responsible manager of public finances.
For the most part, the first week of the 2022 Québec election campaign has allowed François Legault and his party to set the pace, get their main messages across loud and clear, all seemingly in accordance with their game plan. For a party starting off ahead in the polls, this is clearly a victory.
Missing from the podium: Dominique Anglade and the Quebec Liberal Party
The Liberals have unfortunately faced many pitfalls on the campaign trail. While a complete list would probably take up too much space, here are some of the lowlights from their first week: Their inability to field a full team, candidates dropping out, controversial statements by candidates requiring reframing, and elected officials robbed and threatened.
Meanwhile, several of their key election promises (free registration for specialized education programs, an end to the welcome tax for first-time homebuyers) have gone completely under the radar.
Problems like these seem surprising for the QLP, a century-old party that has built a reputation as a high-octane electoral war machine. Where are the experienced Liberal organizers known for running well-oiled campaigns, who made Jean Charest and Philippe Couillard successful? Rumour has it that some of them are already actively seeking fresh funding and a new leader to succeed Dominique Anglade in the wake of an increasingly inevitable defeat. A redirection of resources would not be surprising, given that the Liberals have historically been a party accustomed to operating from a position of power, not of opposition.
For now, Liberal hopes for winning the current campaign are slim, but still alive. But they will not survive another disastrous week. Dominique Anglade needs to get his campaign back on track as soon as possible.
Watch out: Parti conservateur du Québec and Québec solidaire at risk of drowning in negative news
Disturbingly, the start of the 2022 Québec election campaign has been marred by an increase in violence and intimidation against elected officials. As a side effect, this has distracted attention from more minor parties trying to get their announcements in the media spotlight.
Québec’s conservative party leader, Éric Duhaime, has had to waste a lot of time dealing with negative responses to comments from several of his candidates. Key messages from Québec solidaire have also mostly gotten buried under negative news stories that have dominated the media’s election coverage so far.
Strategists from the other parties must be hoping that this trend will slow down momentum for the conservatives, as well as rising solidaire support in Montréal. But will it?