LAVAL – After three days on the campaign trail, Premier Pauline Marois has done little but introduce new party candidates and try to control her message.
She was highly criticized for ignoring journalists Wednesday, after her announcement that Quebecers would go to the polls on April 7.
Now, surrounded by party members, she officially launched her party’s election campaign in Laval.
“We are adopting our platform for future elections. What will be our main engagement, what we will offer Quebec’s population,” explained Leo Bureau-Blouin, MNA for Laval-des-Rapides.
As she outlined her party’s campaign platform, Marois stressed the importance of secularism in Quebec, a direct reference to the controversial Charter of Values.
“I think the Charter of Values will be one of the important issues of this campaign,” said Bureau-Blouin.
“but it’s not the only issue of this campaign.”
During the last campaign, the Parti Quebecois kept quiet when it came to the hot button topic of sovereignty.
This time though, with a possible majority on their side, the concept of Quebec independence is taking up a prominent place in the party’s literature.
As the 2014 campaign gears up, echos of the last campaign can still be heard.
In addition to Bureau-Blouin, who was voted in for the first time in 2012, one other veteran of the student protest movement has decided to join the PQ and stand for office.
Martine Desjardins will be running for the first time in the riding of Groulx.
“For me, it will be a very different campaign,” said Bureau-Blouin.
“I’m campaigning for the second time. So I’m more prepared and have the trust of voters.”
In her remarks to supporters, Premier Pauline Marois took a few digs at Liberal leader Philippe Couillard.
She argued Couillard never defended the interests of Quebeckers and then told the crowd that even her former arch-rival Jean Charest was true to the people in the province.
She may be used to prepared speeches in front of throngs of supporters – Marois has already struck a tone that is more doctrinaire in this campaign – but now it’s time for the Premier to get on the bus and spread her message.
A recent CP poll suggests if she wants a majority on April 7th, her party will have work harder than ever – especially since in 2012, the PQ missed out on a majority by just 13 of the 125 Quebec ridings.