Quebec election: Legault forced to defend COVID-19 rules in conservative riding

·1 min read

QUEBEC — Coalition Avenir Québec Leader François Legault is being forced to defend his government's strict COVID-19 rules on his visit to a riding contested by the upstart Conservative Party of Quebec.

Beauce-Sud, south of Quebec City and bordering the United States, is located in a part of the province known for its conservative politics, entrepreneurial spirit — and particular disdain for Legault's pandemic restrictions.

The Conservatives were not a factor in the 2018 election, but under leader Éric Duhaime they have risen sharply in the polls since he started attacking the CAQ for its management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Legault says he imposed strict COVID-19 rules — including a months-long curfew — to save lives, adding that most Quebecers appreciate how difficult it was to take decisions during the global health crisis.

He did not expressly name his Conservative counterpart, but the CAQ leader accused certain party leaders of wanting to bring anti-government discontent into the legislature.

The CAQ won the Beauce-Sud riding in 2018 but polls suggest it has become a toss up between Legault's party and the Conservatives, who are seriously contesting a number of ridings in the region.

Meanwhile, Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade is holding a news conference this morning in Quebec City, and Québec solidaire spokesman Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois is speaking to reporters in Montreal around noon about the cost of living.

Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon is in Montreal for a news conference and then in Lavaltrie, Que., about 60 kilometres northeast, to present his party's plan for the environment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 30, 2022.

The Canadian Press