Quebec's chief elections office says the Parti Québécois has been spreading false claims of voter fraud, and says the allegations are putting voters' faith in the electoral system at risk.
"It's the confidence in our system which is at stake here," chief elections office spokesman Denis Dion said on Monday, in an interview with CBC's Daybreak host Mike Finnerty.
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"What we don't like is the way these allegations have been used by a political party to say that some election could be stolen in Quebec and there could be fraud, which is false and no elector should believe it."
The election campaign was dominated this weekend by talk of vote-stealing, after the president of the Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques riding's board of revisers resigned and went public with concerns that non-francophones weren't being adequately screened when they tried to register to vote.
The PQ followed up with it's own fears of voter fraud on Sunday, saying it wanted to see concrete steps taken in order to ensure the Quebec election wasn't decided by "people from the rest of Canada."
Dion told CBC's Daybreak on Monday that those concerns are unfounded.
"It's unfortunate that those kinds of comments by Mr. Vandal created the notion that the election can be stolen. That is not true," Dion said.
Couillard says PQ in panic mode
During a campaign stop on Monday, Quebec Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard blasted the PQ for spreading allegations and trying to "intimidate the independent electoral officer."
“I think the behaviour of the PQ yesterday was totally inappropriate," Couillard said in Sherbrooke.
The Liberal leader said the PQ's actions are a response to the party's latest drop in the polls.
“We are seeing the first manifestations of panic at the PQ. It’s like someone swimming who’s trying to cling desperately to whatever comes around him or her,” Couillard said.
"This is panic, this is a sideshow."
PQ defends its concerns
But PQ Leader Pauline Marois defended her party's actions, saying there are legitimate concerns about issues with the electoral system.
"There were concerns about the registration of people who didn't meet the criteria to be on the voting list. The president of revision board said that he was having difficulty to do his job because he was lacking resources," Marois said from a campaign stop in the riding of Drummond-Bois-Francs.
Marois said she was reassured that the chief electoral office had promised to send guidelines to the revision offices to help clarify who is eligible to vote.
"We have confidence in the institution, but we think that we should always stay vigilant," Marois said.
Voters have until April 3 to register to vote in the April 7 provincial election. Visit your local revision office to apply.