Quebec’s fall election campaign is officially under way.
François Legault, Leader of the incumbent Coalition Avenir Québec party, kicked off the election campaign with a speech on Sunday. “We are taking nothing for granted,” he told reporters about an hour after meeting with provincial Lieutenant-Governor J. Michel Doyon, who dissolved the legislature and declared the general election. “If there is one thing I learned in politics, it’s that trust is earned every day.”
Five main provincial parties will be vying for votes in this fall’s election: Coalition Avenir Québec, Quebec Liberal Party, Québéc Solidaire, Parti Québécois and Conservative Party of Quebec. There will also be a new addition: Canadian Party of Quebec, a federalist party aimed at promoting bilingualism that hopes to have a full slate of candidates by election day.
Polls suggest Mr. Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec holds a commanding lead as the campaign launches, and the party is widely expected to cruise to a second majority. A Leger poll published this month found support for Legault’s party at 44 per cent, compared to 18 per cent for the second-place Liberals. Québéc Solidaire and the Conservatives polled at 15 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 0.448 percentage points.
But other parties say they are ready for a fight.
“Ask any Quebecker whether they’re better today than they were four years ago and they’ll answer the question with no. The reality is people don’t have as much money in their pockets. People are really suffering from the inflation. People have to choose between feeding their kids or paying their rent,” said Dominique Anglade, Leader of the Quebec Liberals. “We’re going to be on the offensive, and we’re going to be offensive on the economy.”
The provincial election will be held on Oct. 3. Here’s who’s running, and what you need to know about each party.
Coalition Avenir Québec
If re-elected to a second term, Mr. Legault has promised billions of dollars’ worth of new projects, including $1.8-billion for thousands of new subsidized and affordable housing units, $1.4-billion over five years to convert more than 56,000 unsubsidized daycare spots into subsidized spaces, and $650-million to ensure the health of the province’s lakes and rivers.
He has also pledged 11,700 new affordable housing units over the next four years, and has committed to subsidizing rents for 7,200 housing units.
Quebec Liberal Party
Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade is promising family doctors for all Quebeckers if elected. In order to achieve this, the Liberals say it would commit to training 1,000 additional doctors to fill the gap evaluated by the Fédération des médecins omnipraticiens du Québec. They have also committed $6-billion for hospital infrastructure, including 4,000 additional beds.
The Liberals are also pledging to invest $100-billion in public and private investments to achieve carbon neutrality, lower taxes for the middle class, convert all non-subsidized daycares into subsidized ones for universal access to spaces that will cost $8.70 a day, temporarily suspend the Quebec Sales Tax on electricity until the new year, and remove the QST on all basic necessity products, such as over-the-counter medications, toothbrushes and shampoo.
The party released its platform in June. You can reach its full “playbook” here.
Québéc Solidaire Leader Manon Massé is offering universal dental care that would include coverage for Quebeckers until the age of 18, as well as 60-per-cent reimbursement for dental work like cavities and implants and 80-per-cent reimbursement for cleaning and preventative care for adults.
The party has also promised to cut the cost of public transit fares by 50 per cent and increase service, freeze electricity rates and raise minimum wage to $18 per hour. It is also pledging to make education, at every level and for all Quebeckers, free.
A truncated version of its platform is available in English, online, here.
Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, Leader of the separatist Parti Québécois, has stressed provincial independence from the rest of the country in his party’s platform in such areas as food, health and the economy.
The PQ is also offering the PasseClimat, a $1-a-day all-public transportation pass that can be used throughout Quebec.
Conservative Party of Quebec
Led by Éric Duhaime, the Conservatives have five main platforms as part of their “Free at Home” campaign. They have promised to reduce taxes by roughly $2,000 for Quebeckers who earn less than $80,000 a year, and temporarily suspend gas taxes.
They have also vowed to expand the province’s private health care sector by decentralizing the current health system, relaunch the scrapped LNG-Quebec project, demand an end to the federal carbon tax, provide free public transportation to Quebeckers, and offer families an allowance of $200 a week, per child, for parents who do not have access to daycare centres in Quebec.
More on their platform can be found here.
With a report from The Canadian Press.
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