Ballot Brief

What else is out there, beyond the Big Four parties?

You’ve been asking us about where the smaller, but mighty, parties stand this election. We've got some answers for you.

You’ve been asking us about where the smaller parties stand. We've got answers for you

Reading this online? Sign up here to have the Ballot Brief newsletter delivered directly to your inbox.

Have you heard enough from the Big Four? Looking for what else is out there, beyond the usual suspects?

Many of you have been asking us about where the smaller, but mighty, parties stand this election.

Read on, dear Ballot Briefer, and we'll give you a taste of how the parties without seats in the National Assembly stack up. Here's what you need to know on day 30.


The Breakout 

By Sarah Leavitt, @sarahleavittcbc

They aren't invited to the big debates and often not included in the polls, so how are voters supposed to figure out what the smaller parties stand for? Let's take a look at three of those parties.

The Green Party of Quebec bills itself as an eco-socialist, federalist party. The name says it all — they have a heavy environmental focus.

"It's a question of taking care of the environment but also taking care of the population, making sure everybody has access to quality public health care, everybody has access to education regardless of their means to study," says leader Alex Tyrrell. They have 97 candidates running.

(Sarah Leavitt/CBC)

The New Democratic Party of Quebec is also left-wing. Leader Raphaël Fortin described his party in very similar terms to the Greens: "The NPDQ is a left-wing, social democrat, pragmatic non-sovereignist party." They have 59 candidates running.

And on the other side of the spectrum is the Conservative Party of Quebec. "The idea is to reduce the amount of government," says leader Adrien Pouliot, whose party has 101 candidates running. "There's a lot of government so there's a lot of waste to reduce."

All three parties are unlikely to get even one candidate elected. Their ultimate goal is to get votes because votes = money.

Élections Québec gives political parties financial aid based on the percentage of votes they receive, money they use to help spread the word about their platforms.

The Breakdown

  • Couillard unveiled $45 million in green initiatives this morning, including: creating a "green squad" to enforce environmental regulations, committing one per cent of the province's infrastructure budget on green projects, and reducing our dependence on single-use plastics such as straws.

  • Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée is doubling down on his Hail Mary conspiracy theory — first unleashed during Thursday's leaders debate — that a shadowy, behind-the-scenes puppet master is pulling the strings for Québec Solidaire. Lisée's attack prompted Québec Solidaire co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois to ask: "What did he eat for dinner last night?" Read more

(Sébastien Gauvin Blanchet/Radio-Canada)
  • After a week punctuated by raucous debate performances and poll slippage, François Legault's CAQ hit the reset button this morning at the party's "war room" in Montreal. Greeted by a packed house chanting "Legault! Legault!" the party leader thanked those working behind the scenes "day and night, seven days a week" to keep the machine going.

A Closer Look

The major challenge François Legault faced as he headed into the debates was to control his emotions. He's been accused of being "too hot," too quick to talk over his opponents, too angry, perhaps, to be the premier.

We wanted to know just how well he did on that front and asked non-verbal communications expert Christine Gagnon to lend us her expertise.

She said it's clear he is prepared to fight. Case in point: the pointing.

It's a gesture he uses so often, she believes it's indicative of a leader who would feel very at ease in confrontation if elected premier.

When he leans out, it shows he's not confident in what he's saying.

Gagnon added that he will sometimes even put his hand up, as if to create more distance between himself and an uncomfortable conversation.

And that pursed lip expression he's made so often? He does it when he's doubtful of what's being said, according to Gagnon.

"Do we want a leader who's confident, but not confrontational?" Gagnon asked when evaluating the body language of the leaders.

If that's your criteria for premier, Legault's performance at the debates may not have swayed you.


One week to go until we head to the polls. Do you have all the information you need to make your choice?

If you have lingering questions about issues you haven't heard enough about or queries on all things election, pop us an email at ballotbrief@cbc.ca.

We'll be back tomorrow with special Weekender edition of the Ballot Brief and a more in-depth look at one of the breakout stars of this campaign: Manon Massé.

Have a great weekend and make sure you're registered to vote!

À la prochaine,

-Melinda Dalton, social media editor