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Quebec Liberals focus on leadership race as party gears up for next parliamentary session

WATCH: The Quebec Liberal Party gathered in the Eastern Townships on Wednesday to rally its troops. Heading up the agenda was health care, public security and the economy. As Global's Tim Sargeant explains, the party's upcoming leadership race was on the minds of many.

Healthcare, the economy and public security are the top issues the Quebec Liberals are planning to focus on in the upcoming political session at the National Assembly.

The opposition party is meeting in Bromont this week to map out its strategy and some members insist there is no shortage of issues to attack the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government.

One of the talking points the Liberals plan to raise is the CAQ’s record on the economy when the 43rd parliamentary session kicks off on Sept. 17.

“The labour shortage is a clear problem and I don’t think it’s being heard by the government,” Saint-Henri-Sainte-Anne MNA Dominique Anglade told Global News prior to the caucus.

READ MORE: Dominique Anglade officially launches campaign for Quebec Liberal Party leadership

While party members discuss their plans, many are focused on the upcoming leadership race to replace former premier Philippe Couillard, who stepped won last year after the party’s worst electoral defeat.

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As it stands, only Anglade has announced her candidacy for the party’s top job. The former economy minister argues she is fully qualified to lead — citing her work on the ground and an “ability to connect with people.”

“It will ultimately be for the members to decide,” she said.

In a surprise announcement, St-Laurent MNA Marwah Rizqy invited Gaétan Barrette to throw his hat into the ring on Wednesday. The pair have both expressed interest in the position.

READ MORE: Marie Montpetit won’t run for Quebec Liberal leadership, announces support for Dominique Anglade

Interim party leader Pierre Arcand is hoping more MNAs will announce their candidacy. He says it’s important to have a competitive campaign.

“I think that every member of the party would like to see a very good race,” he said.

Pontiac MNA André Fortin has already ruled out a run for the job. For now, he says it’s too early to say whom he will support.

“I haven’t made any decision on that and when I do it will be made public and you’ll be among the first to know,” he said.

The campaign for the next leader of the Quebec Liberal Party officially starts Nov. 23.

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The campaign is expected to last six to seven months. The party is expected to announce its new leader by May or June.

— With files from The Canadian Press and Global News’ Kalina Laframboise