Premier François Legault rallied his troops Sunday at a Coaltion Avenir Quebec (CAQ) party convention in Trois-Rivières geared toward preparing for the next provincial election in 2022.
The theme of the weekend was strengthening Quebec regions, but the premier insists he hasn’t given up hope he can win more seats in Montreal.
During his closing speech, Legault said the CAQ “married economy and Quebec nationalism.”
For example, he said Treasury Board president, Sonia LeBel would soon table a bill requiring government ministries and crown corporations to “buy local.”
“It’s time the government lead by example,” Legault said in his speech to about 850 party faithful, before adding “his dream” is for economic activity to “explode” in rural Quebec.
The convention, known as a conseil général, was focused on Quebec’s regions. Out of 74 CAQ MNAs, only two were elected in ridings on the island of Montreal. In Sunday’s 40-minute speech, Legault omitted any mention of Montreal, but speaking to reporters afterwards, he said that doesn’t mean he’s not planning to win more seats there in the next election.
“I’m confident we’ll get more than two.”
CAQ president Sarah Beaumier ran in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve in 2018. She was present with Legault when he took questions from reporters, but the premier would not confirm if she will be a candidate again.
“We want to have more seats on the island of Montreal,” he said.
“But at the difference of the Liberal Party for example, we’re not only on the island of Montreal. We are everywhere in Quebec.”
Legault said on the economic front, he will be campaigning on a plan to narrow the wealth gap between Quebec and Ontario. On the nationalist front, the government is committed to protecting the French language.
Earlier this month, Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau created outrage when he said he didn’t need French to get by in Montreal.
French Language Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette confirmed Bill 96 would apply Bill 101 to federal businesses in Quebec. If they don’t comply, companies like Air Canada could be subject to sanctions, Jolin-Barrette said.
The next election is in October 2022.
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