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Electoral officer checking campus visit by PQ minister during advance polling

MONTREAL - Quebec's chief electoral officer is looking into at least one of the visits made by a Parti Quebecois cabinet minister to colleges and universities on advance polling days. Bernard Drainville tweeted a number of recent selfies, including one that showed him sitting at a table at the Universite de Sherbrooke last Friday talking to a student. The minister responsible for drafting the controversial values charter can be seen holding what appears to be PQ election pamphlets.

Marois questions timing of fundraising allegations against her husband

MONTREAL - Pauline Marois says allegations her husband solicited $25,000 to fund her Parti Quebecois leadership bid in 2007 smack of revenge. "We fought for two years to get a commission of inquiry," Marois said Tuesday, referring to Quebec's corruption probe. "We made enemies. "For me, it's clear. We're facing someone who wants revenge and wants to stop the cleanup undertaken by my government."

Peladeau talks local issues, faces personal barbs at all-candidates event

ST-JEROME, Que. - Magnate-turned-politician Pierre Karl Peladeau sat in a dimly lit church in small-town Quebec alongside his three main rivals: a pianist, a realtor and one of his former employees. From behind taped sheets of paper bearing their names, one of Canada's most powerful media barons and his opponents laid out their respective ideas to combat problems in the riding of Saint-Jerome.

Elections Canada clears NDP MPs on use of parliamentary resources in byelections

OTTAWA - Elections Canada says New Democrat MPs did nothing wrong when they used their free parliamentary mailing privileges to send partisan flyers into several ridings involved in byelection campaigns last fall. Chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand says as long as the flyers were mailed before the byelections were called — as NDP Leader Tom Mulcair insists they were — they do not constitute an election expense. Mulcair has acknowledged some flyers arrived in mailboxes after the byelections had been called.

Marois questions timing of fundraising allegations against her husband

DRUMMONDVILLE, Que. - Pauline Marois says allegations her husband solicited $25,000 to fund her Parti Quebecois leadership bid smack of revenge and fear. Marois was reacting again Tuesday to a Radio-Canada report that Claude Blanchet asked an engineering executive for the money in 2007. "Why did he (the man) do this now if he knew this situation in the past?" Marois said in Drummondville. "Why did he decide to denounce this situation now? Because we are in an election and he doesn't want the return of a Parti Quebecois government."

Elections Canada clears NDP MPs on use of parliamentary resources in byelections

OTTAWA - Elections Canada says New Democrat MPs did nothing wrong when they used their free parliamentary mailing privileges to send partisan flyers into several ridings involved in byelection campaigns last fall. Chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand says as long as the flyers were mailed before the byelections were called — as NDP Leader Tom Mulcair insists they were — they do not constitute an election expense. Mulcair has acknowledged some flyers arrived in mailboxes after the byelections had been called.

Marois's husband solicited $25,000 before her 2007 leadership bid: Radio-Canada

MONTREAL - Pauline Marois flatly denied a report on Monday that her husband solicited $25,000 from an engineering executive before her successful bid for the Parti Quebecois leadership in 2007. Radio-Canada reported the executive said in a signed affidavit that Claude Blanchet approached him and asked for the money. The various cheques were for up to $3,000, which at the time was the maximum individual contribution in the PQ leadership race.

PQ makes waves with values charter as Quebec campaign enters home stretch

MONTREAL - A prominent supporter of the Parti Quebecois' values charter made waves in the provincial election campaign on Sunday, using the example of an apartment swimming pool to warn of the dangers of religious accommodation. Janette Bertrand, the head of a pro-charter group known as the Janettes, argued the accommodation of religious minorities in everyday life threatens to erode the equality between men and women. She tried to illustrate her point with a brief story.

Real-estate agents eagerly awaiting outcome of Quebec election

MONTREAL - The Quebec election has real-estate agents on both sides of the Quebec-Ontario border agreeing on one thing: the market is on hold as homebuyers await the outcome. Realtors say a Parti Quebecois majority on April 7 likely wouldn't result in the kind of mass exodus that followed the party's first election victory in 1976. Thousands of Quebecers, mainly anglophones, fled the province after the Rene-Levesque-led PQ stunned the rest of Canada by surging to a majority win.

Parti Quebecois targeted as integrity takes centre stage in election

MONTREAL - The Parti Quebecois faced questions of its own about tax havens and corruption on Saturday as integrity issues took centre stage in the provincial election campaign. Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard said it's the turn of PQ chief Pauline Marois to explain herself following a report of an alleged illegal financing scheme within the party during the 1990s. Montreal's La Presse newspaper reported the province's corruption inquiry is examining allegations of collusion involving engineering companies rewarded with public contracts in exchange for party donations.
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