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Marois appeals to opposition not to defeat PQ budget

Quebec Premier Pauline Marois speaks during her inaugural speech at the National Assembly in Quebec City, October 31, 2012.

MATHIEU BELANGER/REUTERS

Quebec Premier Pauline Marois called Saturday on the opposition parties to help ensure the survival of her shaky Parti Quebecois minority government.

With a confidence vote over the provincial budget looming, Ms. Marois said opposition parties should act responsibly to avoid causing another election less than three months after the last provincial vote.

"I want to say: 'Don't think about the next election, think of the next generation'," Ms. Marois said in a speech at a PQ meeting in Sherbrooke, Que.

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The premier said the Nov. 20 budget is crucial for Quebec's financial future and that political divisions must be set aside.

The party's two chief rivals — the Liberals and the fledgling Coalition for Quebec's Future — have threatened to vote it down. Both have said they won't accept any tax increases.

The PQ needs support from one of them to pass the budget or it will lose a confidence vote, potentially triggering another election.

While Ms. Marois said she's open to talks with either party, she took a few swipes at the Liberals during her speech, blaming that party, which has yet to choose a leader to replace former premier Jean Charest, for leaving a hole in the public coffers.

"(After the election), we were immediately confronted with the result of lax management," she said.

The PQ meeting was the first since the party's victory in the Sept. 4 election.

In her speech to delegates, Ms. Marois touched on her party's ultimate goal of independence, but cautioned that she faced more pressing concerns for the moment.

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"Now that I'm premier, I'm going to give us all a piece of advice," she said.

"Follow your fellow Quebecers closely, their needs, their aspirations, because I want to lead a government for all."

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