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CAQ predicts uncertainty for Quebec economy with Trump presidency

Click to play video 'CAQ worried about Quebec economy with Trump presidency' CAQ worried about Quebec economy with Trump presidency
WATCH ABOVE: The Coalition Avenir Quebec says it plans to put pressure on Premier Philippe Couillard and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to protect Quebec jobs and exports now that Donald Trump is U.S. president. Global's Raquel Fletcher reports.

The Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) presented its plan for the province’s economy at its pre-session caucus this week.

The party said it plans to put pressure on Premier Philippe Couillard and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to protect Quebec jobs and exports now that Donald Trump is officially U.S. president.

READ MORE: Quebec voters turning to CAQ over PQ, according to new poll

The second-place opposition party insists Quebec is already embroiled in a precarious economic climate.

CAQ Leader François Legault argued there is a significant gap between the average salary in Quebec compared to Ontario — about $4,500 annually.

READ MORE: Courting the English vote: PQ, CAQ insist they’re the best choice in Quebec

He said the problem is the gap hasn’t closed or shrunk in more than 10 years, which may be indicative of a lack of high-paying jobs, particularly in the province’s construction industry.

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“Between Quebec and the United States, we have a lot to lose,” Legault said.

He said there needs to be more high-paying jobs in Quebec to brace the economy against the uncertainties of Trump’s administration, which includes reopening NAFTA, which sets rules for international trade and investment between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

WATCH BELOW: CAQ speaks out

The CAQ leader insisted Quebec needs to find new markets for exports, namely Asia, as well as doing more inter-provincial trade and working with Europe.

READ MORE: CAQ courts English vote, says it is ‘nationalist’ alternative to Liberals

This comes in response to Trump’s inauguration speech last week, where he reiterated the need for a protectionist “America first” platform.

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READ MORE: ‘In Quebec, we speak French,’ CAQ proposes mandatory language classes for immigrants

Legault argued Trudeau needs to defend Quebec’s interests when it comes to NAFTA, saying the province has more to lose than gain if it starts renegotiating the accord.

“If tomorrow, if there’s a kind of barrier between Quebec and United States, we have a lot to lose,” he said.

“We first need to make sure that we meet with different representatives of different states.”