Top 10 memorable moments from Quebec election campaign

MONTREAL – Quebecers vote in a provincial election Monday and if the party leaders can agree on one thing, it’s that this has been the dirtiest of races.

READ MORE: Live coverage of the 2014 Quebec election

Here are ten key moments from the campaign. Have we missed any? Let us know in the comments below.

The PKP fist pump

When Pierre Karl Peladeau, one of Canada’s most-powerful media barons, was unveiled as a star Parti Quebecois candidate, he thrust his fist into the air and vowed to make Quebec a country.

“My joining the Parti Québécois is an adhesion to my deepest and most cherished values, making Quebec a sovereign nation!’’

The polarizing majority owner of the Quebecor empire had a clapping PQ leader Pauline Marois at his side — an image that has been shown throughout the campaign.

“Le Shove”

On Day 9 of the election campaign, Pauline Marois pushed Pierre Karl Peladeau away from a news conference microphone in an effort to regain control of the message of her unravelling campaign.

It happened only a few days after Peladeau’s introduction and pro-independence proclamation.

Marois cornered on referendum

In the first leaders’ debate, Coalition Leader Francois Legault cornered Marois on the thorny issue of Quebec independence by asking her whether she would hold a referendum in her next mandate. “No, there will be no referendum as long as Quebecers are not ready,” Marois replied.

Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois, leaves the stage after her post-debate news conference Thursday, March 20, 2014.

Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

Couillard blasted on bilingualism

During the second leaders’ debate, the presumed front-runner Couillard was ganged-up on by his rivals. He madecontroversial remarks about the importance of bilingualism, even for workers on factory floors. His opponents pummeled him with accusations that he is too soft when it comes to protecting the French language.

Watch: Leaders’ debate highlights

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Bernard Drainville brings the Charter of Values back into the spotlight

Two weeks into the campaign and the word “charte” was finally uttered by the Parti Quebecois. Bernard Drainville made sure to draw attention to Bill 60 with his infamous line, “A vote for the PQ is a vote for the charter.” 

In another interesting twist, the PQ did not run a candidate in the riding of Lapinère so Independant MNA and supporter of the charter, Fatima Houda-Pepin had a better chance of winning.

Marois’s tax-cut Hail Mary

With the PQ struggling in the opinion polls, Marois made a sudden and surprising promise of future income-tax cuts, just days before the end of the campaign.

Asked why she has waited until Day 30 of the campaign to mention the commitment, Marois replied: “Not a lot of people asked me (about tax cuts).”

A protester holds a sihn reading “We know where to Cut” with a photo of Quebec Premier Pauline Marois during a against anti-austerity measures Thursday, April 3, 2014 in Montreal.

Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

The CAQ gains momentum

Francois Legault’s campaign strategy remained constant throughout the election. He tried to stay focused on the economy and repeated that his party offers an alternative to those wary of another referendum under the PQ and the “worn-out” Liberals. As the latest polls suggest, he did gain popularity among Quebecers.

 “It’s better to have an accountant, an entrepreneur, a manager, rather than a social worker or a doctor.”

UPAC PQ Flip-Flop

In a sit-down interview with Global’s Jamie Orchard, PQ candidate Jean-Francois Lisee was adamant the PQ was never visited by UPAC, but the next day, PQ leader Pauline Marois said he simply didn’t know that corruption investigators had visited party offices.

PQ worried Ontario students would steal election

The Parti Quebecois Minister of Justice, Bernard St-Arnaud, along with former student leader Leo Bureau-Blouin demanded that Quebec’s chief electoral officer monitor the alleged wave of out-of-province student voters trying to register to vote.

“Will the Quebec election be stolen by people from Ontario? By people from the rest of Canada?” 

Frequently anglophones and members of immigrant communities, university students in Montreal have since reported issues when trying to register for the vote.

Watch: Quebec’s election threatened by out-of-province voters

Charter chat with Janette

Quebec celebrity Janette Bertrand, an outspoken defender of the Parti Quebecois’ secular charter, raised eyebrows when she tried to stir up support for the proposal at a public event.

To illustrate her point, the 89-year-old former actress told a bizarre, hypothetical story of men who were upset by the sight of women in the water at a swimming pool.

Prominent PQ candidate Jean-Francois Lisee later distanced himself from Bertrand’s comments.

“My reaction was that this was not the best quote of the campaign, this was not the best argument for the charter,” Lisee said.

“But the woman is 89, so I’m going to cut her some slack.”

What have we missed? What were your favourite election campaign moments? Let us know in the comments below.

-With Files from the Canadian Press

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