Well, the Quebec general election is definitely going to be held April 7, 2014. Given the Parti Québécois's attempts to appeal to the most enthocentric part of the electorate, hopes aren't high for a good campaign. The leaders of the other two parties, Philippe Couillard of the Liberals and François Legault of the inelegantly named Coalition pour l'avenir du Québec, CAQ--certainly don't promise to raise the tone.
But Québec Solidaire, the left-wing, strongly principled fourth party, has some excellent candidates. Edith Laperle is one of them. A trade unionist, she'll be running for the third time in the Outremont riding which also include the less toney neighborhoods of Mile End and Côte des Neiges. She got 32 per cent of the vote last fall when Couillard ran in a bye-election, which was a terrific result.
Couillard isn't running in Outremont this time, since he promised to run in the Northern Quebec riding of Roberval during his campaign for the Liberal leadership: the Outremont foray was designed to give him a safe seat after he became leader. He probably should be congratulated on not going back on that promise in order to stay in Outremont, but the fact that he made it in the first place says worlds about his frequently shakey political judgment.
Not that the Liberals aren't aware of the appeal of QS and Ms. Laperle among Outremont voters. It looks like they want to muddy the ideological waters since they're running the sister of Françoise David, the QS co-spokesman and one of two QS members of the National Assembly. As in many political families --think Bob Ray and his brother John during the former's NDP phase, and Daniel and Pierre-Marc Johnson, respectively Liberal and PQ premiers of Quebec--families can see deep divisions.
What will be interesting to watch is how Ms. Laperle, whose face and ideas are now pretty well known in the riding, approaches the campaign. Does she have a chance to win? I'd love to think so.