News | Synthesizing the Quebec election: parties and platforms

Action Démocratique (ADQ)

Party leader: Mario Dumont

Playing on the fears of xenophobic Quebeckers, Dumont rose to leader of the official opposition 20 months ago, the first time neither the PQ nor the Liberals held the position since 1973. The ADQ’s leader for 14 years, and for eight years the only elected member of his party, this right-wing politician has a vision for an “autonomous” Quebec.

Postsecondary education

The ADQ spends many pages of its platform extolling the virtues of independent university governance structures. There are some tangential mentions of the importance of university research, such as for emerging green technology.

The economy

ADQ plans to invest in Hydro-Québec, improve the investment climate, work out an infrastructure investment plan, and secure an opt-out for federal employment insurance so it can be managed provincially, like the governmental pension plan.

The environment

With no section specifically on the environment in its platform, the ADQ talks a lot about “respecting” the environment in doing whatever else it is supporting, including cutting trees and producing and transporting natural gas. It also supports more hydro electricity, wind farms, and nuclear power. It also supports limiting public transit workers from striking.

Parti Libéral (PLQ)

Party leader: Jean Charest

Premier of Quebec since April 2003, he barely held onto his Eastern Townships seat when his government was reduced to a minority in March 2007. The Federal Progressive Conservative leader in the mid-1990s, Charest traded leadership roles and took up the head of the Quebec Liberals in 1998, becoming premier five years later. He is running to get a majority so he can tackle the economic crisis.

Postsecondary education

The Liberals propose hiring more professors, investing in education, health, and environmental sciences, and increasing initiatives to attract foreign students. In an effort to keep international students in Quebec after graduation, they’re going to improve the immigration process with selection certificates.

The economy

The Liberal’s Economic Action Plan ups infrastructure investments by ten per cent, institutes gender parity on the board of administrators of all Crown corporations and government agencies, and raises minimum wage by a loonie an hour, among other promises.

The environment

The PLQ has no real climate change initiatives, but they want to plant 100-million trees up North, in theory creating a carbon sink. They’re also launching their Northern Plan, the “biggest economic project north of the 49th parallel ever launched in Quebec.” The plan focuses on resource extraction and mining development. They intend to improve transportation in the city by increasing city-suburb transit services.

Parti Québécois (PQ)

Party leader: Pauline Marois

Marois has had a lengthy political career, representing three provincial ridings, heading three ministries – including finance twice – and running in three PQ leadership races. He finally won the third time by acclamation in June 2007 after the federal Bloc Québéois’s leader, Gilles Duceppe, dropped out of the race fewer than 24 hours after entering it. Marois has stressed strengthening use of French.

Postsecondary education

The tuition freeze would be back on. Not only that, but flexibility for payment time has also been suggested. The PQ is also promising to improve the immigration process to attract more foreign students. Student aid is a platform priority, with the party pledging to increase financial aid with the cost of living.

The economy

They’re propping up areas for investment, seeking out new energy resources, aiming to create 700,000 jobs by 2011, and introducing a tax credit for mortgage interest payments.

The environment

The PQ is focused on renewable energies, improved public transportation, and protecting fresh water resources. It also plans to increase protected lands to 12 per cent of the area of the province, and to reverse the Liberal’s decision to sell part of the Mount Orford provincial park to private developers.

Parti Vert (GRN)

Party leader: Guy Rainville

Rainville joined the Québec Green Party in 2004 and was elected vice-president of the party in October 2007. He is proposing fixed-date, proportional representation elections, the decentralization of much authority to regions, and a revised tax system, as well as a detailed environmental platform.

Postsecondary education

The Greens want to reduce the time required by university graduates in teaching school to one year before they are able to teach grade school. They also want to increase technical programs in the trades and move professional training to CEGEPs, and finance part-time training in those fields.

The economy

The Green Party wants to invest in an environmental economy, where bio-agriculture is developped, and ensure public-private partnerships are more strictly watched. They also want to nationalize water extraction to keep the profits local.

The environment

The Green Party wants to cut emissions by three per cent a year, to in effect reduce emissions by 30 per cent to meet Kyoto objectives by 2020. They’re also talking about a $40-billion transport package to be phased in over the next 20 years, among other initiatives.

Quebec Solidaire (QS)

Party leaders: Françoise David and Amir Khadir

Co-spokespeople David and Khadir are the faces of this progressive, sovereignist party founded in 2006. Calling the party an alternative to what they say are the right-wing policies of the three major parties, Khadir and David are concentrating on winning their neighbouring ridings just east of downtown.

Postsecondary education

QS wants to eliminate tuition fees and drastically increase funding in financial aid. The party also wants to heavily reinvest directly in universities, fixing what it calls the current underfunding.

The economy

QS promises to invest in public transportation, renewable energy, and green agriculture. They also want to increase taxes on non-employment income, corporations, and luxury products while expanding the “essential” products exempted from provincial sales tax.

The environment

The party wants to charge the full public costs for the use of natural resources, such as water, air, and land, and reinvest the money in public programs. It also wants to reinforce regulations on automobile pollution and encourage the development of electric cars.

– compiled by Alison Withers


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