Maxime Bernier could give upstart Quebec Tory party instant credibility: poll

The relatively unknown Quebec Conservative party is barely showing up on the board in public opinion polls. That could change if Maxime Bernier were to leave the federal Tories and head to Quebec City.

A Leger Marketing survey shows the Liberals continuing to lead with 30 per cent support. The CAQ comes in second, as it has in several recent polls, with 28 per cent support. The PQ is at 22 per cent, while Quebec Solidaire is at 13 per cent.

The provincial Tories, led by Adrien Pouliot, the one-time boss of CFCF Inc., are drawing in just 4 per cent support.

The poll contained an interesting hypothetical scenario — if Maxime Bernier, who lost the federal Conservative leadership race by a whisker late last month, were to suddenly jump to provincial politics, the provincial Tories would jump into a tie with Quebec Solidaire, with 12 per cent support.

Province-wide, the Tories would steal votes from both the Liberals (-4 per cent) and the CAQ (-4 per cent). The PQ support would be stable.

A Bernier-led Tory party would earn its greatest support in the Quebec City region, pulling down 21 per cent support, and stealing votes away from both the Liberals and the CAQ.

A report suggests the Quebec Conservatives are planning to make a pitch to Bernier to make the unlikely jump.

The current Quebec Conservative Party was founded in 2009. An earlier version of the Quebec Conservatives had been a force in Quebec politics in the years following Confederation, but ended up merging with a group of dissident Liberals to form the Union Nationale in 1935, under the leadership of ex-Tory leader Maurice Duplessis.