Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois is returning to a familiar yet unforgiving area as the Quebec election campaign enters its final weekend.

Marois, who was the minister overseeing the Outaouais in the 1980s, was welcomed to Gatineau by a group of supporters before a private meeting with mayor Marc Bureau.

She said the region as a whole is suffering from a lack of services for all ages.

“For the Outaouais, I think it’s important to correct the situation about the inequality in health and social services,” she said.

“We have to increase the resources available for the population.”

However, Marois' party hasn't won a seat in western Quebec in more than 35 years, a fact some chalk up to the region's close ties to Ontario and the rest of Canada.

"When were at the head of the government, the Parti Quebecois respected the Outaouais," she said.

"We'd like to have the responsibility of the linguistic policy . . . about the territory of Quebec, about culture, about education."

"I'm proud that my daughter was able to meet Mme. Marois today because she's probably going to be the next prime minister, maybe the next president of the republic," said supporter Sophie Frechette.

Bureau said regardless of a possible separation, he's more concerned with the challenges of a growing community than a shrinking one.

"I think the citizens, the young families of Ottawa are going to continue to live in Gatineau, so I'm not afraid about that," he said.

"We are a city that's going to expand a lot for the next year, so I will say we will need the money to do it."

Voter opinion polls show the separatist PQ with a slight lead over Jean Charest’s incumbent Liberals and Francois Legault’s new Coalition Avenir Quebec.

Election day is Sept. 4.

With a report from CTV Ottawa’s John Hua