Quebec Headed to Polls: Charest Calls It For September 4


Premier Jean Charest has taken his time trying to figure out when an election would hurt his Liberals the least and on August 1 he decided September 4 had to be it.

The date could cause problems for all the university and CEGEP students who will be moving in and starting classes probably exactly what Charest wants given the nearly year-long battle he’s had with student groups over tuition fees.

Some students have been striking since February 2012 to protest a move by Charest’s government to increase tuition fees by over $1,500 in the next five years. The protests have included massive demonstrations across the province, including a march by between 300,000 and 400,000 people in Montreal on May 22.

The government has been trying to negotiate with student groups, but then enacted Bill 78, which was found to violate the fundamental freedoms of the student citizens.

The question of this election will be: will students be able to get organized enough to vote on September 4?

Many will be moving to new addresses, some will be just starting classes. Student groups will have to ensure that their members are aware of rules about proof of address for voting and when advance polls are taking place. Presumably these students are dedicated to this cause and will be passionate about their right to vote, but Charest seems to be betting on students being too busy or voting being too complicated.

The election date also falls immediately before the Charbonneau Commission resumes on September 17. The commission is investigating the Quebec construction industry and its connections to government specifically whether political parties in Quebec have been getting kickbacks from the companies the government awards contracts to.

Whether Charest can weather the storm or Quebec voters are fed up and want to try something new we will see on September 4. According to recent polling, the Parti Quebecois is currently 2 points ahead.

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Photo Credit: Kunal Shah


Paula G.
Paula G5 years ago

Tired of whiney Quebeqois!

Denis LeBlanc
Denis LeBlanc5 years ago

I urge Care2 readers: DO NOT SIGN THE PETITION attached to this article; Student's rights are not being violated in any way.
70% of the people of Quebec (all but the separatists) and most of the rest of Canada do not feel the Charest law is in any way draconian. 70% of the students in Quebec do not support these strikes and just want to go to school.
The Charest law only requires that where anyone wants to have a demonstration of 50 people or more, you have to tell the police so they can maintain order. This is consistent with the requirements that almost every province already have in place, and perfectly in harmony with our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
We in Canada do not have absolute Freedom of Speech. The Charter allows "reasonable" limitations. If they are so appaled by the Charest law, then let them challenge this law in the Courts as is their right - They won't because they know they will loose.
I am saddened by Paula G's comments. Quebec does not want to "separate". Quebec Nationalists will keep raising bogus issues like this one. My Canada includes Quebec.

.5 years ago

Kick him out ! His blatant disregard for human rights,his draconian anti freedom of assembly laws and the fact that he sent his attack dogs to intimidate , bully, threaten and illegally arrest and detain peaceful protesters of all stripes warrants his imprisonment never mind just losing the election.

Stefan Dwornik

Charest's under handed attempts to hold the reins through unethical actions, has/will draw very close scrutiny, and that may be the last thing any politician wants. He has plenty to hide, as do most human beings since none are born or seek enlightenment, and so he has brought the spotlight to himself in away that will not be good for him, might even see fines or criminal charges. This is Canada after all, and not the U.S., so people are much more likely to exercise their rights as citizens- at least that is what I learned growing up partly in Canada, and having all but 1 family member who lives in the lower/lowest 48, depending on if you support some of this garbage in Iowa & Arizona, and ALWAYS UTAH AND THE MORMON CHURCH which does involve itself directly in to politics( even in another state, like California,ref;PROP 8). NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Paula G.
Paula G5 years ago

So tired of Quebec and their issues. Let them separate and see how long they survive. They do not see that their causes are pejudice against others; immigrnst, english only... I don't even want to hear about it anymore it has gone on for so long. So many that I have met from that province have no respect for anyone but themselves and their 'rights' are to be respected before anyone elses.

Lawrence Travers
Lawrence Travers5 years ago

Universities....change your start date after September 4. Out manipulate him.

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola5 years ago

Very interesting information.

margaret b.

Corrupt yes, but if you read newsletters from across Canada each province can be sited for corrupt practices too. What I hope happens in Quebec is that the other groups that supported the students step in and rally to demonstrate that this summers protests were about an all out austerity campaign that had no basis or right to focus on students or average taxpayers. In fact this so called austerity theme is a farce-- a concocted fantasy similar to the phoney debt crisis of the 90's. The real increases to our debt level was done by our federal governments policies especially in paying for outrages contracts for the as yet realized phantom F35's and the military ventures in lock step with the US in Afghanistan ---- for ---what was the reason again, and we as Canadians gain ---what? Canada for the last decade has been beset by crumbling bridges, roads, sewer systems and a country wide inter provincial set of trade barriers that impede west coast to east coast trade movement. And we have energy resources but not for our own use----we pay top dollar at the pumps and the government collects twice through sales taxes and selling our oil to foreign buyers. It seems to me that our governments at some levels doesn't really like us---if they did wouldn't we be ahead of the eight ball instead of feeling behind it.

J.L. A.
JL A5 years ago

such a manipulative picture

Vicky Pitchford
Vicky P5 years ago

They are going to be stuck with a crap sandwich and a crap sandwich in Quebec. The political parties there are all corrupt