MONTREAL — Quebecers are going to the polls for a general election on Oct. 3; here are a series of quotes from the leaders of the province's five major parties on Day 1 of the campaign.
François Legault, outgoing premier and leader of Coalition Avenir Québec
"I am not perfect; you have seen it. It happens that I make mistakes, and when it happens, I don't try to persist with pride but to show humility. And one thing that the pandemic has taught me is to know how to adjust."
"I think that for the past four years, Quebecers have become more proud of being Quebecer. We adopted Bill 21, to prohibit religious signs for employees in positions of authority. We adopted Bill 96 to strengthen French in Quebec. And we have opposition parties that want to butcher Bill 21; there are opposition parties that want to butcher Bill 96. Quebecers won't let them do this.
"Ladies and gentlemen … we can't break this momentum. I need you, and it's for this reason that I am asking for a mandate to continue."
Dominique Anglade, leader of the Quebec Liberal Party
"I will challenge François Legault on the economy. The economy will be the ballot box question. I challenge him to repeat that labour shortages are good news. I challenge him to see parents whose kids don't have teachers and won't have any for the next few weeks. I challenge him to visit entrepreneurs who are being forced to close their businesses because they don't have enough staff."
"I am thinking of the cost of living; we have families who can't make ends meet and have to decide whether to pay rent or buy food …. No one can call themselves the party of the economy if they aren't able to recognize that the main brakes being put on our economic development today are labour shortages — and (Legault) has denied this."
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, co-spokesperson for Quebec solidaire and the party's choice for premier
"Quebec is going through unprecedented crises: the cost-of-living crisis is impoverishing the middle class; our health-care system is profoundly sick; our seniors are being abandoned; and the climate crisis is threatening our future. François Legault is managing these crises the way we have been managing them for the past 25 years. He manages the crises like we manage our potholes in Quebec — he is patching holes. It's too long that we are patching holes in Quebec. We can't continue like that. I don't want us to continue; I want us to clear the air."
Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, leader of the Parti Québécois
"We are numerous to notice the failures of the CAQ's federalism and to notice the contempt of Canada toward the democratic choices of Quebecers .... We are numerous to notice the decline of French … we are numerous to notice that it's not normal to take our Quebec taxes and to be forced to send them to Ottawa, for them to be sent as subsidies and gifts to one of the most polluting industries in the world: the multinationals oil companies from Alberta."
"We are numerous to think it's not normal to fill out two tax returns, that it's not normal to control a question as fundamental as our culture, to not control our borders, to not control the question of immigration .... In brief, we are numerous to hope for better."
Éric Duhaime, leader of the Conservative Party of Quebec.
"Voters will hear different ideas from us … if people can't get care in the public system they will be able to go into the private system and public insurance will be forced to pay for it .... We will also talk about inflation and the economic crisis. We want to promise a significant income tax cut accompanied by a cut in taxes. We want the government to cut its spending to let Quebec families breathe more."
"The four other parties aren't anywhere near us on these issues. I also want to talk about the responsible exploitation of our resources. The Conservative party will propose to exploit our fossil fuels to reduce global greenhouse gases."
"I think we are the party with the greatest potential to grow."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 28, 2022.
The Canadian Press