Quebec politicians scramble to pass legislation, woo anglophone voters

Click to play video 'Quebec MNAs get to work with clock ticking' Quebec MNAs get to work with clock ticking
WATCH: With three weeks to pass legislation before the National Assembly breaks for summer and the fall election, Quebec MNAs are scrambling to finish work on bills. As Global's Raquel Fletcher reports, politicians are also busy campaigning – particularly for Anglophone votes.

The provincial government has only three weeks to pass legislation before the National Assembly breaks for summer and then there’s an election.

“I’m hardworking” Premier Philippe Couillard joked to journalists Tuesday.

Politicians are scrambling to finish work on bills like the pit bull ban and cannabis regulations, but they are also busy campaigning — particularly for anglophone votes.

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During his speech at the Coaltion Avenir Quebec (CAQ) party convention this weekend, the leader made yet another plea to anglophones.

“There’s no threat of referendum anymore,” François Legault said to applause from party delegates.

“There’s no reason to stick with the Liberal Party that has taken you for granted for decades. Free yourselves. Join the team for change.”

The speech got the other leaders talking Tuesday at the National Assembly.

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“Not only do I agree with him, he stole my lines! It’s exactly the lines that I used in the convention last September,” said Parti Québécois (PQ) Leader Jean-François Lisée. “And I said furthermore, with the Parti Québécois your vote will never be taken for granted.”

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“Free Quebecers from what? Four consecutive balanced budgets? Two billion dollars less of interest payments on our debt?” Couillard said.

Couillard added that his government has “freed Quebecers from deficits, debt and paralysis of our public services.”

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All the parties seem to be doing a lot of early campaigning, even though there are only three weeks left in this National Assembly session. Some people are skeptical that the government has enough time to pass its most anticipated pieces of legislation, like its proposed ban on dangerous dogs.

“I think we can still do that and I will do my best,” said Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux on Tuesday.

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“Some weeks ago, the house had almost nothing to do. Rooms for commissions were empty,” Lisée said.

Yet to be adopted are the government’s work-life balance bill, its updates to the province’s liquor laws and its Cannabis Regulation Act.

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“If it’s not adopted — and I trust my colleagues at the National Assembly to do that — (but) if it’s not adopted, well, the federal government will just commercialize cannabis above our heads, and nobody wants that,” Couillard said.