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Legault pitches CAQ as party to upend status quo

Coalition Avenir Quebec leader Francois Legault speaks to reporters Friday August 24, 2012 in Quebec City as his wife Isabelle Braire looks on. Quebecers will vote in a general election on Sept. 4.

CLEMENT ALLARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

François Legault is calling on Quebeckers to give him a majority on Sept. 4, saying it's the only way to get rid of the province's "old parties" and start defying the status quo.

The leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec, however, acknowledged that he faces an uphill battle in winning over a cynical electorate that has soured on the political class.

"We have work to do to win back the trust of the electorate," Mr. Legault said. "People tell us they agree with our plan to clean up politics, but they ask if we can actually fulfill our promises. The message at this point is not to repeat our policies, but to convince Quebeckers that they can trust us."

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Mr. Legault said he is a businessman and that his priority is to "deliver the goods." He said he will keep a tight check on his cabinet ministers and reevaluate his government's actions every day, like a president looking at his stock price.

Mr. Legault said that Quebeckers obviously want change, and that he is now working to convince them that his party is positioned to effectively redraw the province's government in 10 days. The CAQ wants to cut taxes for middle-class families, cut thousands of government jobs, and enact new anti-corruption legislation.

"The ideal way to undertake the great clean-up is with a majority government of the Coalition Avenir Québec," he said. "On Sept. 4, we're aiming to be on the top step on the podium."

Mr. Legault woke up to a new Léger Marketing poll that placed his party in second place for the first time in the election campaign. While he did not comment specifically on the results, he is obviously hoping to continue stealing support from the Parti Québécois and the Liberals.

"The two old parties in Quebec only want to defend the status quo," he said.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Daniel Leblanc studied political science at the University of Ottawa and journalism at Carleton University. He became a full-time reporter in 1998, first at the Ottawa Citizen and then in the Ottawa bureau of The Globe and Mail. More

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