SULTAN JESSA: Quebec election

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In just over two weeks, people in Quebec will be heading to the polls to elect a new government.

Political pundits and pollsters are saying the minority Parti Quebecois, which currently holds 54 seats in the national assembly, is heading for a majority.

I have my doubts.

In recent years, we have seen polls after polls being wrong.

We saw what happened in Alberta and British Columbia.

The most recent polls now say the ruling and separatist Parti Quebecois and the Liberals, headed by brain surgeon Philippe Couillard, are now running neck to neck.

The Liberals hold 49 seats.

Of the remaining seats, 18 are held by Coalition Avenir Quebec and two by Quebec-Solidaire.

Pauline Marois, who served as finance minister with Bernard Landry and Jacques Parizeau, was elected premier Sept. 4, 2012.

Her government lasted about 18 months.

For Marois, the main priority is to separate Quebec from the rest of Canada.

Although she has been evading to answers on separation and a new referendum, it is crystal clear her eyes are glued to making Quebec s new country at any cost.

In February, Quebec lost nearly 26,000 jobs.

The economy is in bad shape and the infrastructure and health care is crumbling fast.

More people are leaving the province to begin a new life in other parts of the country.

Couillard, who replaced former premier Jean Charest, has not proven a good leader.

But, since the election was called, he has been talking tough and making a dent in the PQ campaign.

Is this too late!

I don’t think so.

He can still turn things round by being even more forceful and spending a lot more time talking about jobs, health care, the economy, human rights and the environment.

The Marois government has been playing wedge politics with its much-publicized values charter and language politics.

She also used a loophole in its fixed date election act to call a snap vote at an opportune time when many Quebeckers are paying attention to how people dress and what languages they speak at home and at work.

A new election in Quebec was originally scheduled for Oct.3, 2016.

In Quebec, the two major opposition parties had threatened to vote against the 2014-15 budget, which would have been legitimate.

But, the Marois government decided to move when polls started to show she had a chance to form a majority government.

This is going to backfire.

Many people in Canada’s second largest province are fed up talks on separation and values charter and the on-going language issue, which is constantly kept on the hot stove.

Hearings on the Quebec Charter of Values which would forbid anyone employed by the government from wearing religious symbols like head scarves, turbans and kippahs.

More and more people who normally stay away from voting say they will send a strong message to the PQ this time.

My opinion is we might see a minority Liberal government or even the PQ returning to power with another minority.

Organizations: Parti Quebecois

Geographic location: Quebec, Alberta, British Columbia.The Canada

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