Premier François Legault said he believes prosperity and pride are Quebecers top priorities during the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) convention that gathered over 1,000 party members in Drummondville, Que. on Saturday.
So much so that the official theme for the weekend-long annual convention is just that — pride.
“That’s what makes us different from the old (political) parties,” said Deputy Premier and Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault. “We are not afraid of saying that pride is as important as anything else here in Quebec.”
The conference is the political party’s last opportunity to discuss policy and prepare its platform ahead of the upcoming provincial election in the fall.
The event comes just days after the Legault government adopted its controversial new French Charter legislation, Bill 96, aimed at further protecting and bolstering the language by imposing tougher French requirements in the province, including in the education and business sectors — a move that Anglophone, Allophone and Indigenous communities have protested.
The event was met with a heavy police presence as well as protestors.
People showed up to express their frustration with various policies implemented by the CAQ government over the last several years. The crowd was made up of civil servants, anti-Bill 96 demonstrators, housing advocates and those against the province’s COVID-19 pandemic health measures.
Critics, notably Québec solidaire, pointed out that the topic of the environment was missing from the agenda of this weekend’s policy discussion.
For Deputy Premier Guilbault, the party has addressed “different topics over the years, but today it’s important to discuss pride in being Quebecers.”
Premier Legault will give the closing remarks on Sunday.
–with files from Olivia O’Malley, Global News