August 16, 2018 3:07 pm

‘I feel like an underdog and I like it’: PQ leader not worried about trailing in polls

In this 2016 file photo, Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée speaks to supporters after he was elected to lead the party. Lisée says he's relishing his role as underdog in the lead-up to the provincial elections. Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018.

Jacques Boissinot /The Canadian Press

Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée is looking to some sovereigntist heavyweights for inspiration with his party struggling in third place in the polls.

Lisée says he is relishing his underdog status about a week before the Quebec election campaign officially gets underway.

He told reporters Wednesday he was in a similar position at the outset of the PQ leadership race he went on to win two years ago.

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“I feel like an underdog and I like it,” he said. “Because that’s where I was at the beginning of the leadership race in 2016 — and here I am.

“René Lévesque was an underdog in the 1976 election. We (the Yes side) were underdogs coming into the (1995) referendum debate and we came very close to 50 per cent.”

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Besides the reference to Lévesque’s stunning victory 42 years ago, Lisée also mentioned the 1998 election campaign in which Lucien Bouchard led the PQ to victory after it appeared Jean Charest’s Liberals would win.

And last month, Lisée brought up that win from 20 years as he congratulated France for winning the World Cup.

“The last time the French won the Cup, in 1998, the Parti Québécois won the election a few months later,” he tweeted. “We’ll repeat that in October.”

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The election campaign kicks off Aug. 23 and Quebecers go to the polls Oct. 1.

Lisée appeared unfazed by recent opinion polls that have consistently suggested the PQ is trailing the front-running Coalition Avenir Quebec and the governing Liberals.

“I’m feeling great because our team is extremely confident all across Quebec,” he said. “Our proposals are credible.”

He dismissed the Coalition’s proposals as unsound and said, “that helps a lot.”

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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