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François Legault during his closing speech at a party meeting in Levis, on the outskirts of Quebec City, on Sunday.

The leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec urged English-speaking Quebecers on Sunday to liberate themselves from Premier Philippe Couillard’s Liberals in October’s provincial election.

“Free yourself!” François Legault said during the closing speech of a party meeting in Levis, on the outskirts of Quebec City.

He said English speakers no longer have to feel trapped into voting for the Liberals, whom he accused of taking them “for granted.”

Legault accused Couillard of trying to make English-speakers believe the CAQ has a “hidden agenda,” and promised that a Coalition government would help Quebec progress within Canada with no threat of separation.

“With the CAQ, no referendum, no ambiguity, no tricks, it’s clear,” Legault told a crowd of about 1,000 delegates.

It was believed to be the biggest-ever gathering for the party, which has been leading in the opinion polls ahead of the fall’s provincial election.

Also meeting on Sunday was the Parti Québécois, which promised it would offer free post-secondary education if it wins in October.

The measure would be rolled out gradually, and would be available at first to low or lower-middle income Quebecers, according to the party’s electoral platform that was unveiled in Drummondville.

Leader Jean-Francois Lis é e said it was likely that only this first step would be realized in a first PQ mandate, since the party would be unlikely to be able to immediately afford to the annual cost of extending it to everyone.

“We wouldn’t have $800 million in a first term to put towards it,” he told reporters following the meeting. “But can we cut the pear in two and gradually arrive at free tuition for half? It’s a goal.”

The party estimates the cost of extending tuition to lower income Quebecers at $400 million annually.

The party’s electoral platform also proposes a $15 minimum wage and new rules on secularism that would ban teachers and daycare workers from displaying religious symbols and require citizens who are receiving services to do so with their faces uncovered.

The party said it would also reduce funding to English-speaking colleges to a level that reflects their demographic weight.

With files from Patrice Bergeron in Drummondville, Que.

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