The 43rd general election in Quebec is officially launched.
Coalition Avenier Quebec (CAQ) Chief François Legault made the announcement on Sunday morning after asking the lieutenant-governor. Michel Doyon to dissolve the legislature.
“The real campaign begins,” Legault said as he walked to his campaign bus.
Election signs are already installed in the cities of the province. The campaign will last about five weeks before Quebecers go to the polls on October 3.
Party leaders are shifting into high gear and making appearances in multiple constituencies throughout the day.
The Quebec Liberals and Legault’s CAQ were the first parties to hold press conferences, launching their campaigns on Sunday morning.
Parti Québécois (PQ) leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon then spoke in the Montreal riding of Camille-Laurin, followed by Quebec Conservative Party leader Éric Duhaime in his riding of Chauvreau, northeast of Quebec City.
Québec solidaire (QS) is launching its campaign in the riding of Saint-François in Estrie, where it hopes to make gains this election.
All major party leaders have nominated candidates and made campaign promises in recent weeks.
Polls suggest that the CAQ holds a considerable lead at the start of the campaign and should easily reach a second majority.
The economy was one of the main topics discussed by party leaders when launching their campaigns.
Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade said the economy would be the issue at the polls and suggested the subject of Quebec’s economic growth had been neglected by the CAQ.
“Ask any Quebecer if he is better today than four years ago, and he will answer no,” said Anglade.
“The reality is that people don’t have that much money in their pockets. We need a long-term plan, and those are the proposals we have.”
The economy in mind
At a press conference in front of Montmorency Falls outside Quebec shortly after, Legault said he was proud of the state of Quebec’s economy, but acknowledged inflation was the main concern that voters had shared with him during his travels through the province recently.
“Wages in Quebec have never increased so quickly, so can we agree that there is something good for our workers right now? he said. “Who do you really trust to manage your portfolio?” »
He also mentioned more than once that during his time as Premier, Quebec had reduced its wealth gap with Ontario.
He responded to Anglade’s accusation about the economy by saying in French, “How could this lady say that Quebec’s economy is not doing well? We have never seen Quebec’s economy surpass Ontario’s under the Liberals.
Legault added that “the labor shortage was not caused by the CAQ”.
Anglade quickly tweeted in response: “My name is Dominique”.
Legault said the CAQ will share its four measures to tackle the cost of living in the coming days and will include concrete ways to green the province’s economy, including measures to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Legault’s launch in the capital suggests his party wants to shore up its base in the region, where the Tories under Duhaime appear to be gaining popularity.
In response to questions about whether Duhaime was threatening CAQ strongholds in Quebec City and the Beauce region, Legault said the pandemic taught him the importance of staying humble and that he told his team every days: “Don’t take anything for granted.
He said he believed the Tories’ growing popularity could be partly attributed to the backlash from pandemic restrictions, but felt it was his duty to sometimes implement strict measures to protect people. vulnerable people.
A Leger poll released earlier this month found support for Legault’s party at 44%, compared to 18% for the second-placed Quebec Liberals. Québec solidaire and the Conservative Party of Québec obtained 15% and 13% of the votes respectively.
Growing popularity of conservatives
Duhaime held his press conference in front of a small crowd of supporters, saying his campaign started a week ago without waiting for Legault to give the green light.
He said the fact that his party had already amassed 125 candidates for the first time in a Quebec election was a victory.
“I sense a lot of enthusiasm and a very strong mobilization from our base and we have 36 days to convince hundreds of thousands of other Quebecers,” said Duhaime.
Health, housing and climate change
Québec solidaire (QS) positioned itself as the main opposition to the CAQ, trying to take advantage of the fall of the Liberals in the polls.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, co-spokesperson for QS, said the upcoming mandate is Quebec’s “last chance” to fight climate change.
“We have a responsibility to act now,” he said. “The first priority should be the health of people and the health of the environment.”
He said his party would present an ambitious platform that would solve the housing crisis, ‘revolutionize’ transportation and make Quebec ‘one of the greenest countries in the world’, referring to QS’s support for sovereignty .
“We will end the biggest polluters who get a free pass.”
In Montreal, Plamondon said his party could be the Cinderella story of the election – “The team that went much further than anyone predicted.”
Despite the PQ’s dismal poll results, Plamondon said the party would stand on a platform based on the authenticity of its beliefs.
“Faced with the decline that Canada has chosen for us, we do not accept the CAQ’s invitation to resign ourselves. We choose hope and rigor,” Plamondon said, alluding to the CAQ’s position that Quebec does not need to separate from the rest of Canada to assert its sovereignty.
“In simple terms, being a sovereigntist is being a realist,” Plamondon said. “We want to make sure everyone understands that this idea is also and primarily about our future as a nation and the future of the French language.”
When the summer legislature adjourned, Legault’s party had 76 seats, while the Quebec Liberals had 27, Quebec solidaire had 10, and the Parti Quebecois had seven. The Conservative Party of Quebec held one seat and there were four independents.