As Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals go in Ontario’s spring election, so too will go Philippe Couillard’s ruling party in Quebec in the fall? Given the turn of the campaign for the Ontario Liberals, there certainly are too many parallels to comfort their Quebec cousins. But there are also striking differences. Wynne and Couillard became leaders of their respective parties within six weeks of each other in 2013. At the time, the Liberals in both provinces seemed to have exhausted their welcome in government. A year later, both succeeded beyond the expectations of many of their supporters, beating long odds to lead their parties to majority victories. But over four years in office, each has failed to build a lasting connection with a significant section of his or her initial audience. It is hard to sell voters on ambitious promises when one’s party has been in power for most of the past two decades. In hindsight, it may be that Wynne and Couillard were always going to live on borrowed time. By putting a fresh face on aging governments, the Liberals in British Columbia and the Tories in Alberta also seemed to have found a recipe to extend an already long stay in power—only to have voter fatigue catch up to them at the next election turn. The result has been the advent of two NDP governments in Canada’s westernmost provinces. Still, by comparison to Wynne, Couillard’s prospects come across as a bit brighter. His path to re-election is a very narrow one, but that is more than one can say about that of his Ontario counterpart. With the Quebec vote set for October, he has been struggling to find traction with voters—in particular in the francophone ridings that will determine the outcome of the election. But the Quebec Liberals have one card up their sleeve that their Ontario cousins do not. With two weeks to go to the vote, the Ontario campaign has mostly become a two-way battle between the Progressive Conservatives and the New Democrats. The quest by progressive voters for a vehicle liable to overtake Doug Ford’s Conservatives on the way to power at Queen’s Park is bolstering Andrea Horwath’s NDP. The New Democrats are offering change-seeking, non-conservative voters what looks like an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. Wynne’s current nightmare could be Couillard’s dream scenario. As long as the upcoming Quebec campaign is about ousting the Liberals from power, he does not have a fighting chance of leading his party back to government. Over the past year, the opposition vote has coalesced behind the leading Coalition Avenir Québec. With a ballot box question focused on change, Couillard cannot hope to win. If the premier is to snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat, he needs the Quebec campaign to shift along the same axis as the Ontario election. That’s because for the progressive Quebec federalists who could find the leading Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) too conservative for their liking, there is no obvious alternative except the Liberals, or at least not unless they want to vote for a sovereigntist party. That latter option is a non-starter for most non-francophone voters. Their overwhelming preference for the Liberals is what is keeping them competitive in the polls. If that support continues to hold, Couillard will remain best placed to beat the CAQ in October and the default choice for any voter bent on keeping the CAQ at bay. In that spirit, he has been working hard to find recruits liable to shore up the progressive credentials of the party. Those took a hit over four years of Liberal governance focused on accumulating a budget surplus in time for the election. Last week, Couillard appointed entrepreneur Alexandre Taillefer as his campaign chair. The latter proclaimed he was jumping into the fray to promote a progressive agenda. The premier recruited fiscal expert Marwah Rizqy to run in one of Montreal’s safest Liberal seats. She hails from the left side of the spectrum and has been a leading voice in the Quebec debate over fiscal havens. Couillard’s gain is Justin Trudeau’s loss. Rizqy has strong cabinet credentials. She ran for the federal Liberals in Hochelaga riding in 2015 and finished a close second only to go on to lose the Liberal nomination battle for Stéphane Dion’s seat last year. Trudeau’s people tried but failed to convince her she would be a third-time lucky come the next year’s federal campaign. It is interesting that a candidate of this calibre would cast her lot with a provincial party whose re-election to government is at best uncertain rather than with one that presumes it is entitled to a second federal term. Chantal Hébert is a columnist based in Ottawa covering politics.