The Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) revealed more of its election platform after this weekend’s party convention in Lévis.
Leader François Legault said he will limit the number of election promises he makes in order to deliver results. However, the party has already made a number of commitments, which, added up, could be costly and it is not yet clear how a CAQ government would pay for them.
Sixty-two of the candidates recruited so far, 28 of them women, arrived on stage on the last day of the party’s convention in a large campaign bus.
The party has only been around for six years, but it’s been ahead in the polls for months and party leader Legault said a CAQ government is in sight.
To anglophone Quebecers, Legault had this message: “The fear campaign of Mr. Couillard is an insult to Quebecers. With the CAQ, there’s no hidden agenda — it’s within Canada, plain and simple. We’re in a new era. There’s no threat of referendum, so there’s no reason to stick with the Liberal Party of Canada that has taken you for granted. Free yourselves. Join the team for change!”
It’s not the first time Legault has made this kind of plea to English-speaking Quebec, but exactly what kind of change are they pushing for?
The party says a CAQ government would start kindergarten for all Quebec children at four years old. They would lower school taxes. And just this weekend, they announced they would reduce average emergency room wait times to 90 minutes, as well as make sure that every Quebecer has a family doctor.
They are big promises, but the CAQ has not yet released its financial framework for how to pay for it.
“I’m an accountant, so figures for me, they are important. I know very well how much it costs and where we’ll take the money. Of course, I will not table it today,” Legault said.
Legault said he believes he can save $1 billion a year by renegotiating doctors’ salaries, even though he admitted that will be a challenge.
“I think the population will support us. The population can understand that it doesn’t make sense that a doctor earns more in Quebec than in Ontario,” he said.
On issues that directly impact Quebec’s anglophone communities, Legault said he would keep liberal initiatives already in place. One of those is the newly-formed English-speaking secretariat.
He also said he would replace school boards with service centres in his first mandate.