March 18, 2014 3:49 pm
Updated: April 4, 2014 1:32 pm

Marois attacks Couillard’s credibility, questions past links to Arthur Porter

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MONTREAL – Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois arrived at a morning news conference with a clear game plan: to attack Liberal leader Philippe Couillard’s credibility.

She reminded Quebecers about his past association with Dr. Arthur Porter, the former head of the Montreal University Health Centre (MUHC),  who is facing fraud charges in a bribery scandal.

A Parti Quebecois social media ad outlining the distance Liberal leader Philippe Couillard has put between himself and Arthur Porter.

Handout/Parti Quebecois

Arthur Porter was also the former head of Canada’s spy-agency watchdog who received prestigious appointments from different levels of government and was nearly honoured with a street in his name in Montreal. He was arrested abroad on fraud charges in May.

READ MORE: Full coverage of Arthur Porter arrest

At the same news event, Marois also suggested Couillard’s political team is the same as former Quebec premier and Liberal leader Jean Charest.

“I think we have in front of us someone who is like Mr. Charest: the same perspective, the same vision,” Marois told reporters.

She used Charest’s name five times during the press conference.

Former Quebec premier Jean Charest, left, looks on as then Health Minister Yves Bolduc and Dr. Arthur Porter congratulate each other at the ground turning ceremonies for the new McGill University Hospital Thursday, April 1, 2010 in Montreal.

Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

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A new opinion poll is likely behind the PQ’s more aggressive stance.

READ MOREMarois faces questions as new poll shows PQ losing ground

The Quebec Liberals are up three points on Marois’ party; and it’s the first time the Liberals have been on top in a while.

“I think the reason they are getting nasty is they are seeing polls going in the wrong direction,” political analyst Bruce Hicks told Global News.

“They have a lot at stake here, if Marois doesn’t deliver a majority, this is a party that eats their leader.”

Another Parti Quebecois member has also been on the attack lately.

On his blog, Jean-Francois Lisee used the word “schizophrenic” to describe the Liberal leader in one entry.

In a more recent text, he criticized Quebec Solidaire for dividing the separatist vote.

“I must suggest to Mr. Lisee to live by its decisions,” Quebec Solidaire candidate Amir Khadir said.

“The PQ has decided to go right wing, to clearly stand for big business.”

READ MOREQuebec Solidaire MNA unrepentant after Khomeini comment

The tone appears to have gone up a notch or two with every party it seems.

There are about three weeks left before voting day.

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