Canada Politics

Will Ontarians and Quebecers be heading to the polls this year?

Canada Politics

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Quebec Premier Pauline Marois (CP file photo)

Rumours abound that residents of Canada's two most populous provinces could be headed to the polls before year end.

While the rumours are just speculation at this point, Fall elections for both Quebec and Ontario make a lot sense.

Both minority governing parties — the Liberals in Ontario and the Parti Quebecois in Quebec — have been experiencing a rejuvenation of sorts in the public opinion polls.

Lets' start in Ontario.

According to the results of a survey, published earlier this week in the Globe and Mail, the Kathleen Wynne Liberals now have the support of 37 per cent of decided voters; that's seven percentage points ahead of the the Tim Hudak Tories.

Moreover, don't be surprised to see the Liberals take advantage of the Progressive Conservative infighting that could peak at an Ontario PC policy convention later this month: Since the byelections last month, some Tory members and even MPPs have been publicly calling for a review of Hudak's leadership.

The premier has already raised the spectre of an election.

"If there is absolutely no possibility for collaboration, then the legislature will grind to a halt, and the opposition will have made it clear that they want a general election. I hope that doesn’t happen...my first choice is to make the minority parliament work," Wynne said Monday, according to the Toronto Star.

"You can frame what I said as threatening but what I am simply saying is that there are issues that need to be advanced...there is enough common ground."

[ Related: Peter Shurman housing allowance scandal a distraction as Ont. Tories begin new session of legislature ]

In Quebec, there are different elements at play.

According to Le Devoir, the governing Pauline Marois' PQ have rebounded from an early-term dip in the polls and now have the support of 32 per cent of Quebecers — the same level of support they had on election night 2012. That support could be growing.

It appears that the PQ's values charter is popular among Quebecers: An online poll from last week suggested that 66 per cent of Quebecers support it.

[ Related: Ontario hospital aims to woo workers from Quebec disgruntled by the values charter ]

Could the PQ leverage that support for a charter to win a majority?

The Montreal Gazette's Don MacPherson wrote about that on Thursday.

"...the government launched a $1.9-million campaignthis week to advertise its proposed “charter of values” at public expense. The campaign includes distribution of a brochure describing the proposal to every household in Quebec.

Hmm. It’s obvious that the Parti Québécois wants to fight the next election on the identity issue, which is its strength. So why the advertising campaign now?

On Thursday, La Presse reported that the PQ hopes the charter will boost its popularity enough that it can call a fall election."

Yes, indeed, it looks like election season could be just around the corner.

(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)

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