Though they trail the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) and the Liberals in the polls, Parti Québécois (PQ) members were chanting “We’re going to win” as their platform was adopted on the second day of their pre-election convention in Drummondville on Sunday.
The newly adopted platform calls the French language “the sap that runs through Quebecers veins.”
Party leader Jean-François Lisée said if elected, in their first 101 days the PQ would add to Bill 101 by creating Bill 202.
“Bill 202 would give the French language the biggest gain in energy since Bill 101,” he told the hundreds of party members assembled at the Drummondville Best Western.
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The PQ wants to apply the language bill to businesses with 25-50 employees. They also want to stop employers from requiring their employees to have English skills unless absolutely necessary.
“I saw a number of job offers that said English was required and French was preferred but not required,” Lisée told reporters. “The tipping point has been reached.”
The party also plans to make sure 100 per cent of new immigrants are not allowed into Quebec unless they have a good knowledge of French.
“Ask London how they did it, and Germany, and Holland, because they all ask immigrants to speak the language before they come,” Lisée said.
The PQ doesn’t want face coverings to be allowed for anyone giving or receiving a government service. There would be no religious wear allowed on teachers, daycare workers, judges, prosecutors or police.
On health care, the PQ platform puts a big focus on better services for seniors. They also promise a salary freeze for doctors, and putting an end to what they call the “ping pong” of doctors between the public and private sector.
As Lisée discussed the platform during his convention-closing speech, he spent a lot of time taking aim at his opponents.
“The Parti Quebecois is the guarantor. Not the CAQ, not the Liberals,” he said in one of several attacks on the two parties ahead in the polls.
Another key idea in the PQ platform is what they call “Le Grand Débloquage,” an offensive against traffic that includes 200 km of new tramways.
“A tram on the main would help the orange line of the metro so much. A tram on Cote-des-Neiges that would go to the Hippodrome, a tram to Lachine,” Lisée explained.
The traffic plans also include more reserved bus lanes on highways.
As a surprise, the PQ unveiled a new vehicle they’ll use to tour the province this summer.
“We’ll organize barbecues around it, we want it to be festive,” Lisée said.
His party is full of optimism, confidence and the hope they’ve come up with the right recipe for a path to Quebec independence, starting with a comeback in the polls.