QUEBEC CITY – “We don’t want a race to chase money, we want a race of ideas.”
Thirty-six-year-old leadership hopeful Alexandre Cloutier said times have changed and politics shouldn’t be about money.
“What we don’t want is candidates like me who have a mortgage to pay and if you ask people like me to get half a million dollars tomorrow, we may have a problem to participate in the debate,” he said.
As the race to replace Pauline Marois picks up steam, Cloutier and fellow contender Martine Ouellet are asking the party president to cap the expense ceiling at a quarter of a million dollars and to limit individual contributions to $200 instead of $500.
“It will give everyone a fair shot,” Ouellet argued.
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The man considered to be the early favourite in this race is well-connected multimillionaire Pierre Karl Péladeau.
He did not want to comment.
Though the idea seems to please, some, like Bernard Drainville, aren’t convinced it’s necessary.
While he was a cabinet minister, Drainville modified the Election Act to lower contributions.
“In the case of leadership races, there is no public financing right, so this is the reason why we lowered the threshold at $500 but we didn’t go lower,” he explained.
The aspiring leaders – their number swelling to 8 now – will keep their portfolios when the Assembly resumes sitting September 16th.
They’ll be on double duty, said PQ Interim Leader Stéphane Bédard, campaigning and making sure the Liberal government maintains services to the population and respects workers.
“There have already been social tensions and there could be more,” said PQ MNA Nicolas Marceau.
“We think again the ball is in the hand of the government.”
All expect a busy Fall, with protests looming and a government program review that is bound to cause conflicts.