Montreal·Ballot Brief

Dumping dodgy candidates: the activity du jour on the campaign trail

Both the Parti Québécois and the Coalition Avenir Québec spent time addressing their dubious candidates this week.

In the past week, two aspiring MNAs have dropped out over dubious dealings and another may be on the way out

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Want to work from home? There's a platform for that. One week into the campaign, we're getting into the nitty gritty of where each party wants to take the province, and all the goodies that come with it.

Here's what you need to know on day eight of the campaign.

​The Breakout

By Jonathan Montpetit, @jonmontpetit

What's the deal with dodgy candidates? In the past week, two aspiring MNAs have dropped out over dubious dealings, and another  may not be far behind.

Late Thursday, an old tweet surfaced from Parti Québécois candidate Michelle Blanc in which she uses the N-word to express her dismay at poor service from a Bell Canada representative.

Michelle Blanc is in hot water over tweets she wrote. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)
Blanc, who is running in the Montreal riding of Mercier, confirmed to CBC Montreal that she wrote the tweet, but deleted it six months ago.

Get the latest on the story here.

This will only complicate life for PQ Leader Jean-François Lisée, whose party has attracted a number of candidates with controversial views.

The party's likely choice in Drummond–Bois-Francs, Pierre Marcotte, was yanked from the ballot Wednesday after a blog revealed his history of making Islamophobic comments online.

In the spring, Lisée had approached Muguette Paillé, hoping she would run in the swing riding of Maskinongé. Lisée called her "the voice of popular wisdom."

Turned out, though, Paillé was a member of several Islamophobic Facebook groups. She withdrew after that came to light.

Coalition Avenir Québec has had its share of candidate troubles.

Stéphane Le Bouyonnec, the party's president, was hoping to retake La Prairie, a seat he lost in 2014. But he bailed on Tuesday, following criticism for his past involvement with a credit rating firm.

And party stalwart Éric Caire is in hot water for a $55,000 loan he received last year from a mayor in his riding. CAQ Leader François Legault is standing by him, saying he deserves a second chance.

Éric Caire said he was having a tough time in his personal life when he accepted the loan. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

​​The Breakdown

  • Another day, another promise (or three) to improve the health care system. This time, the CAQ said it would give those 17 or under $250 every two years for glasses or contact lenses. The Liberals said 90 per cent of Quebecers would have access to a family doctor by the end of a second mandate and pledged $200 million more annually for publicly funded home care. Critics say the system is sorely underfunded

  • The Parti Québécois may be trailing the CAQ and the Liberals in the polls, but no one can accuse the party of running a boring campaign. It has already proposed a Tinder-like app to encourage car sharing and co-operatives that would cut the cost of school supplies. Today, Jean-François Lisée said he wants an additional 200,000 Quebecers to be working from home by 2025 — and would provide companies with the financial incentives to do it.

The Trail: Dispatches from the road

By Cathy Senay, @CatSenay

Let's be clear. A campaign bus is a pretty organized work environment. You're kind of in military mode — you travel across the province, go to a news conference, ask questions, pack up, get back on the bus and file your story. Repeat.

But sometimes, real life breaks up the routine. William Villeneuve came as beautiful surprise. He's 10 years old and is about to start grade 4 at a school in Alma, in the Lac-Saint-Jean region.

What was impressive about William was how at ease he was while speaking to Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard for several minutes as a bunch of reporters, photographers and camera operators looked on.

William told Couillard he's excited to learn to make potions in science class this school year. One of William's dreams is to make a fountain of youth for his grandmother, Francine.

They also talked about Spirou, an orange-haired comic book character who goes on adventures with his squirrel Spip and reporter friend Fantasio.

When I got back on the bus, I had a million things to do. But instead, I listened to and laughed at the exchange over and over. That refreshing moment stopped me from getting stuck in the "politics bubble" that a campaign bus creates — at least, for a little while.

The mic

What issues do you want to hear more about?

Send your queries to and we'll choose some to be answered right here.

The Pulse

Health care has overtaken dollar signs as the most important issue of the election, according to Quebecers who took the Vote Compass survey.

The economy dominated voters' priorities in the last two provincial elections.

So what gives? Some experts say Quebecers are living the good life right now, so the economy isn't the biggest fire to put out.

Take the Vote Compass survey yourself here.

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À la prochaine, 

-Melinda Dalton, social media editor


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