Sovereignty debate revived one week before Quebec election
On Day 33 of the election campaign, Quebec Liberal Party leader Philippe Couillard continued to boast about the province’s strong economy, promising to implement new measures, if re-elected, to help Quebec businesses innovate and prosper.
“We’ve already committed $100 million to develop the ecosystem. We’re adding to this another $80 million over four years,” said Couillard.
Though his announcement Monday was geared toward the economy, Couillard didn’t pass up the chance to speak about his main rival, Coalition Avenir Québec leader François Legault, reviving the issue of sovereignty and a referendum.
“He (Legault) said, ‘I don’t believe in it anymore because the numbers are not there.’ What does that mean? If the numbers come back again, he will become (a believer) again?” asked Couillard.
When asked by reporters if he was trying to run a fear campaign against Legault, Couillard disagreed, saying Quebec is an open society and Legault’s ideas and values simply don’t mirror that.
“I’m not the one putting fear in the minds of people,” he said. “I’m not the one threatening people with expulsion. That is having a campaign of fear; I’m not doing this.”
On Sunday, Legault sent out a tweet saying Couillard has run out of arguments.
For Legault, the only referendum question is whether, after 15 years of Liberal government, Quebec wants another four years of Couillard and Gaétan Barrette.
If the answer is no, vote CAQ, Legault wrote.
“The Liberals have traditionally profited, especially at the end of a campaign, if voters are thinking there might be a referendum or we might have another vote on sovereignty … they want to avoid constitutional debates and the Liberals know that,” said Sebastien Dallaire, senior vice-president and general manager of Ipsos Quebec.
“The Liberals know that and it’s in their interest to stir up this kind of debate.”
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