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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CAQ promises $22M in funding for parents of kids with disabilities

CTV Montreal
Published Thursday, September 6, 2018 8:19PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 6, 2018 9:11PM EDT

The CAQ was in the Lanaudiere region Thursday morning, as he made promises to parents of children with disabilities.

If elected, party leader Francois Legault said he wants to ensure these families get more financial help.

“I'm a parent myself so I can understand what these parents have to live for all their life. If I put myself in their shoes it's tough,” he said.

If elected, the party would give an additional $22 million dollars in government aid to parents with children who have disabilities.

In 2016, the Quebec government created a financial program for children with exceptional care needs.

The CAQ says more than half of families who applied were refused.

“I don't accept that there were more than 4,000 request and 54 per cent of the request were refused. It doesn't make sense, come on,” said Legault.

As helpful as the money may end up being, for some families, there's something missing – the money would only help families whose children are under 18, despite some needing parental care throughout their lives.

“All that's left for someone like me who cannot work anymore is welfare, so that's really not good,” said Marie-France Beaudry, whose 26-year-old son has spina bifida and cardiac problems.

Beaudry takes care of her son full-time and said she used to receive money from the government, but once her son turned 18, it stopped.

“The morning that he turns 18, the handicap is still there, the health problems are still there. His needs are the same. So life doesn't change because he turns 18,” she said.

Legault also spent the morning answering questions about his immigration policies; he wants to cut immigration in the province by 20 per cent, adding that newcomers would have to take a language test.

Legault now says, though, that he would be more flexible with older people.

“I would accept that maybe we can be more free about parents. But when you talk about brothers, sisters, I think that we must require that they learn French, that they find a job,” he said.

The Liberals used the opportunity to jump on Legault's proposed policy.

“Look at the big picture: less immigrants so you close the door for entrance, expulsion tests – so you open the door for expulsion and you break families. What a great proposal, what a socially advanced proposal,” said Couillard, sarcastically.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

September 4, 2018 7:50 pm Updated: September 4, 2018 9:34 pm

CAQ dumps candidate Stéphane Laroche after reports of underage drinking in his bar

By Kalina Laframboise
Online Producer Global News

Stéphane Laroche was asked to withdraw his candidacy on Tuesday.

The Coalition Avenir Québec has dumped candidate Stéphane Laroche after it came to light the business owner allowed minors into his bar and paid women on staff less than their male colleagues.

“The lack of transparency and the lack of respect for pay equity have no place in the CAQ,” the party said in statement on the 13th day of the provincial election campaign.

CAQ Leader François Legault asked Laroche, who was running in the Saint-Jean riding, to withdraw his candidacy on Tuesday following an article published by La Presse Canadienne.

Laroche owns Pub O’Bock, a popular sports bar in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu that caters to young people.

The Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux has disciplined Laroche at least three times for allowing teenagers under the age of 18 into his bar between 2010 and 2018. Quebec’s liquor board also described Laroche as a “multiple repeat offender.”

In 2017, his bar was also found to be in violation of the Pay Equity Act by the CNESST, the province’s workplace and safety board.

‘Not transparent’

The CAQ claims Laroche hid the information and he was “not transparent during the candidacy process.”

After the annoucement, Laroche took to Facebook to thank his supporters and said he would speak with them again soon. He also reiterated his support for the party.

“Calm down everyone, one thing at a time,” he said. “I will have the opportunity to rectify many, many lies about me.”

Laroche’s withdrawal comes exactly one week after CAQ president Stéphane Le Bouyonnec suddenly stepped down and retracted his candidacy for the riding of La Prairie over an apparent conflict of interest.

In his resignation letter, Le Bouyonnec said he made his decision with the best interests of the party in mind.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quebec election: TV rivals ready to team up on historic English debate

“But make no mistake." Global's Orchard says she, CBC's Arbec and CTV Takahashi will quickly return to competing "for our own networks after.”

Bill Brownstein, Montreal Gazette
Updated: September 8, 2018

CBC News anchor Debra Arbec is most curious to learn what specific plans the four Quebec provincial party leaders have for the English community. Global News anchor Jamie Orchard, who has two kids in school, would like to learn what plans the leaders have in mind for the English educational system. CTV News anchor Mutsumi Takahashi would love to know how the leaders conduct themselves when they think they’re addressing a different audience.

The three anchors should get answers to their questions Monday, Sept. 17, in a historic event: Quebec’s first-ever televised provincial party leaders debate in English. In the spirit of co-operation, network rivalries will be put aside and the debate will be presented on CTV, CBC-TV and Radio, Global, City, CJAD and the Montreal Gazette’s home page, montrealgazette.com.

Orchard will host, while Arbec and Takahashi moderate. In addition to their opening and closing statements, Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard, the Coalition Avenir Québec’s François Legault, the Parti Québécois’s Jean-François Lisée and Québec Solidaire’s co-spokesperson Manon Massé will debate on different issues and also field questions culled from the English community.

“This is an incredibly rare and exciting situation,” Orchard says. “I think it goes to show that for the right reasons, we as competitors can work together so that we can all represent the English community. In this area, there is a sense of camaraderie.

“You might not see this happen in Toronto, where the English community is the majority. But we stick more together here where the English community is the minority.”

The last time there was an English-language debate among party leaders was in 1985, with the Liberals’ Robert Bourassa and the PQ’s Pierre-Marc Johnson, and that was broadcast only on radio.

November 1985: Then premier Pierre-Marc Johnson, radio debate moderator Pierre Pascau and Liberal Leader Robert Bourassa on the day of the English radio debate. Bill Grimshaw / Canadian Press

“So this is unprecedented and huge for us,” Arbec says. “We’ve all made requests to have TV debates in English before, but, finally, we’ve got them all together and we will have the opportunity to press them on issues about the anglophone community.”

“Yup, there will just be no escaping us in English that evening,” Takahashi muses.

While noting that the event is unprecedented, Takahashi has been frequently asked why three competing networks would ever want to collaborate together. After all, it’s highly doubtful this kind of network collaboration would occur in other parts of the country or, for that matter, pretty much anywhere else in the world. With the stakes often so high, the media world is rarely moved into a solidarity mode.

“This is not to say that we don’t all have elements of competition between the networks, but we think of journalism first and our raison d’être here, for all of us, is to do what is best for our community,” Takahashi says. “In this particular case, what is best is to do this together. We can’t kid ourselves. There was no way these leaders were going to give three different TV debates in English. They were only going to give us one.”

Not to detract from the needs of the English community, but Takahashi is quick to point out that anglos don’t live in a vacuum.

“What affects us affects all Quebecers,” Takahashi says. “I think it will be interesting to see how the leaders, who are so used to responding to issues of health care, education, immigration and the economy in French, choose to position themselves when they are speaking to a different audience.

“But I don’t want people to think that if they watch us, we’re going to be talking about anglos and only anglos. We’re part of a greater community, and our needs are very much reflected in francophone needs as well. We’re not working in isolation in an English bubble.”

Perhaps not so surprisingly, given the size of our anglo community, the three women have shared history. Orchard, who has been a Global anchor for the last 21 years, was a CTV reporter for the two years previous. Arbec, who has been the CBC anchor for the last seven years, previously hosted the late-night news at CTV for more than a decade. Takahashi, recently named a Member of the Order of Canada, has worked with both women over the course of her 31-year run as CTV news anchor.

The three are quick to stress that they won’t be using the debate to editorialize or push their own agendas. As moderators, Arbec and Takahashi will seek to ensure that the four leaders get equal time. And should the leaders not be able to finish their remarks in time, will they be reticent about jumping in to shut them down?

“I’m quite good at that, actually,” Arbec cracks. “We’ve all done many debates and interviews over the years. We know how to cut people off and rein them in all the time on air — that’s what we do for a living.”

“There’s usually a protocol to debates where the participants are supposed to allow the others to express their vision and to educate the public as to what they offer,” Orchard says. “Of course, they don’t often follow these rules, but I have no doubt these ladies will keep them in check.”

In the past, an overwhelming majority of anglo and ethnic voters have supported the Liberals, but the three feel it could be different as sovereignty is pretty much off the table for this election.

“I think the reason the leaders agreed to the debate this time is that they feel that vote might be in play for all of them,” Orchard says. “Certainly, there is a feeling that anglophones and allophones might toy with the idea of voting for another party, like the CAQ.”

“This is the first election in 37 years where sovereignty is not an overriding issue,” Takahashi says. “So for the first time, we’re having an election with views from the left and right of the spectrum.”

“Let’s not have illusions that the West End of Montreal is suddenly going to turn from Liberal to CAQ — that’s highly unlikely — but there are votes to get on the West Island and even more so in the Eastern Townships, where there are some real races shaping up, and the CAQ has a real chance in a number of seats,” Arbec says. “So listening to the English community will certainly be important to Couillard and Legault.”

Regardless, apart from billions of dollars in promises from the leaders, what the electorate has mostly been hearing in this campaign are stories about candidates who have had to pull out for a variety of reasons, some more scandalous than others.

“That’s what I’ve been hearing from voters who are so frustrated by all these distractions,” Arbec says. “That’s why I’m so looking forward to this debate, because that’s when we’ll get a good sense of who the leaders are and which ones we can most trust.”

This spirit of cooperation among these anchors is most heartening.

“Yes, it’s all well and good that we’ll be working together for the debate,” Orchard says, “but make no mistake, we’ll all be competing against one another and out for our own networks after.”

Then the gloves come off again.

“But no worries. We all know each other,” the grinning Takahashi chimes in. “And we all know where the skeletons are buried.”




Quebec’s first televised provincial party leaders debate in English takes place Monday, Sept. 17, from 5:30-7 p.m., and will be presented on CTV, CBC-TV and Radio, Global, City, CJAD and at montrealgazette.com.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quebec election: Legault soft peddles through hostile Island territory

Topics of the day in Montreal were the CAQ's immigration policy and qualified support for even Mayor Plante's Pink Line

Philip Authier, Montreal Gazette
Updated: September 7, 2018

CAQ leader François Legault shares a laugh with Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante during campaign stop in Pointe-aux-Trembles on Friday. (Pierre Obendrauf / MONTREAL GAZETTE) Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette

One sees immigration as a huge asset for Montreal. The other believes that without stricter rules it represents a risk to Quebec’s identity.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante and Coalition Avenir Québec Leader François Legault stood together on the same sidewalk in Montreal East Friday — keeping all things cordial despite differences on several key issues.

Plante made a point of not rocking Legault’s world on the immigration issue, which has dominated his campaign this week, and he in turn appeared to soften his stated opposition to Plante’s dream of a métro Pink Line, estimated to cost $5.9 billion.

Legault still thinks the idea is too expensive but said if the new line can be built, on the surface, which would be much cheaper, he is open to talking about it.

Later, however, at a second stop in the Mauricie region, Legault heaped on the conditions.

He told reporters if Montreal can negotiate an agreement with suburban mayors on the need to make another line a priority, without compromising the budgets of many other big ticket projects including the métro Blue Line, a new tramway in the East End and the REM electric train in the west, “I’ll look at it.”

But where the two leaders really had to put on their game faces was on the issue of immigration, in a city where 75 per cent of Quebec’s new arrivals choose to live.

“As I have always said, to me immigration is an asset for Montreal, for Quebec and Canada,” Plante said standing beside Legault. “I value all kinds of languages. To me it’s a treasure.”

Plante said despite Legault’s assertions, immigrants in Montreal are well integrated into society.

“Can we do better, always,” she said. “We can’t just say we are worried. We have to have concrete tools to help them fit in.”

She noted other Quebec mayors are constantly asking her for Montreal’s ideas on integrating and retaining immigrants because of chronic labour shortages in their cities.

In the hot seat, Legault donned his diplomatic cap to defend himself from accusations of being close-minded to new arrivals. On Friday, his Liberal and Parti Québécois opponents again ganged up on him for his views.

“I think we are saying the same thing,” he said. “We need more (immigrants). We all want more. You want more. I want more. Unfortunately we lose too many.”

Legault’s position is that poor management by the Liberal government explains why about 26 per cent of new immigrants wind up leaving Quebec. And he points to studies revealing 56 per cent of immigrants can’t speak French. Their unemployment rate is at 15 per cent.

Asked later what he means by more, he refused to budge from his view that Quebec’s total annual influx of immigrants should be slashed from 50,000 to 40,000. He argued, however, that the CAQ’s plan for immigration will mean a higher retention level.

“More immigrants working, more immigrants who speak French,” Legault said. “Right now we have gone beyond our capacity to integrate them.”

The issue dominated his day of campaigning in Montreal. His defence? Immigrants agree with most of what he’s saying because they want to fully enjoy the benefits of Quebec society.

“What I say to immigrants is if you want to enjoy life in Quebec, you have to integrate. To integrate you have to speak French. It’s good for Quebec, it’s good for new arrivals. For me, asking them to learn French is reasonable.”

He has the same attitude when it comes to the English-speaking community and the Charter of the French Language. The CAQ plan is to step up enforcement of existing rules.

“What worried them (English-speaking Quebecers) above all was the idea of Quebec sovereignty, that Quebec separates from the rest of Canada.

“Anglophones and a majority of allophones accept Bill 101. There are some who don’t like the fact that we oblige children to go to French schools but they accept it.

“When we say Quebec is a distinct society, it’s an advantage. With French we are distinct. It’s a little bit of Europe in North America. It’s good for all.

“We’re not talking about a new Bill 101. We’re talking about having the actual law respected.”

Montreal is far from fertile ground for the CAQ, which has never won a seat there. At a recent leader’s debate at Concordia, Legault was booed as he tried to defend his immigration plan.

The CAQ hopes all that will change on Oct. 1 starting in the East End riding of Pointe-aux-Trembles

The CAQ hopes it can make a breakthrough with candidate Chantal Rouleau, who is mayor of the Pointe-aux-Trembles borough.

Legault arrived pledging a multimillion plan to clean up contaminated property in the East End, which he says successive governments have neglected.

The plan includes a $200-million reserve to decontaminate dozens of vacant properties — a total of 846 hectares — which the CAQ says can be put to use


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Insults fly between Leaders on Day 18 of Quebec campaign

Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, September 9, 2018 1:54PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, September 9, 2018 3:35PM EDT

MONTREAL -- Insults flew between candidates on the Quebec campaign trail Sunday as verbal sparring between Francois Legault and Philippe Couillard overshadowed announcements on health care, culture and environmental protection.

Liberal Leader Couillard accused the Coalition Avenir Quebec leader of having created a financial plan based "hypothesis" rather than fact, while Legault shot back by comparing Couillard to Santa Claus and said his policies resembled those of left-wing Quebec solidaire.

The exchange began with Couillard criticizing Legault's financial plan, which promises to boost health and education spending without raising taxes beyond the level of inflation.

"When there are commitments that literally disappear from the financial framework, that are massively underestimated, we're beyond hypothesis, we are in error," Couillard said in Trois-Rivieres, halfway between Montreal and Quebec City.

Almost 200 kilometres away in Lac-Megantic, Legault criticized his Liberal party rival's "ridiculous" number of big budget promises.

"When we look at all the expenses that have been announced in the last six months, they're getting closer to Quebec solidaire, and they're not doing much to put money back in Quebecers pockets," said Legault, who said his rival's spending earned him the moniker "Santa Claus Couillard."

One of Quebec solidaire's co-spokespeople, however, reacted with humour to Legault's claim that the Liberal party's policies resemble those of her party.

"Our ideas are so popular, it's normal they're trying to copy us!" Manon Masse wrote on social media.

Parti Quebec Leader Jean-Francois Lisee, for his part, engaged in a war of words with B'nai Brith Canada, which had called for one of the party's candidates to resign over her controversial past social media posts.

The Jewish organization accused Michelle Blanc of prejudiced and antisemitic statements, citing a 2007 blog post in which she accused a Hassidic Jewish community of being an "extremist sect," and a 2011 Twitter message in which she wrote she'd "forgotten to celebrate Hitler's birthday yesterday."

Lisee described the Jewish group's demands as "threats" and an "attempt to intimidate" as he once again defended his embattled candidate, who was forced to apologize earlier in the campaign for suggesting that a well-known blogger was a pedophile.

While their verbal exchanges drew attention, the leaders also unrolled a series of promises in the area of health, culture and consumer protection.

Lisee promised to tackle high gas prices through his planned Quebec consumer protection office, which he said would look into price fixing by "gas cartels."

"Every Tuesday or Wednesday, something wrong happens in the gas stations in the Montreal area," he said, referring to predictable early-week price hikes.

"This situation just begs for an inquiry, so that's why it's going to be the first (file)," he said.

Couillard, for his part, pledged to help the province's 1.5 million caregivers by creating a tax credit of up to $2,400 per year to help them renovate their homes to accommodate an elderly person.

Couillard also promised to implement a governmental action plan to help caregivers which would include the development of different respite services for patients.

He estimated his promises will cost $60 million, $40 million of which would be for the credit.

Legault, meanwhile, promised to increase funding to libraries and offer two cultural outings a year to elementary and high school-aged children.

Quebec solidaire focused on environment and agriculture, promising to redirect funds from a trust to pay down public debt to instead be used to tackle climate change and finance green infrastructure.

Speaking in Quebec's Eastern Townships, Masse also introduced an agricultural plan that would boost subsidies to organic producers, support local supplies, and review rules governing pesticide use.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( although the province wide numbers appear close , the CAQ has big leads in quebec city and among francophone voters )

September 10, 2018 / Updated at 7:15 am

Mainstreet survey: the CAQ keeps its lead

Despite a difficult passage last week, the Coalition avenir Quà His lead is now 5 points on the Liberal Party - and his support is much better distributed.

The survey carried out from 5 to 7 September among 2500 people (margin of error of The Parti Québécois follows with 21.1%, and Québec solidaire closes the march with 15.7% of the popular favor.

"The CAQ has managed to rebound since their fall last week. [...] We also see that QS shows a presence that was not expected early in the campaign, "said Steve Pinkus, Mainstreet.

Of note, the pollster continues, "to change or continue with the Liberal government," no less than 72% say they want to change their government.

"It is certain that it will be important in the ballot box," says Mr Pinkus. If we compare that to the last election in Alberta and the federal election in 2015, Albertans wanted to get rid of the Conservatives and many people wanted to get rid of Stephen Harper in Ottawa. Then voters had to decide between two options in these elections [NDP or Wild Rose in Alberta, NDP or PLC at the federal level, ed]. In this campaign, these are three options, but I'm not sure that QS will be a serious option for people who want change, because they have virtually no chance to form government. So that leaves us with a battle between the PQ and the CAQ as to who will replace the government


The topic of immigration was first addressed in the campaign late last week, but it is still too early to know if it has had an effect on the electorate, says Pinkus.

The CAQ still holds a significant lead among Francophones, with 35% of voting intentions. Next in order are PQ (23%), PLQ (21%) and QS (18%).

This is, not surprisingly, in the Quebec City area where the Coalition dominates the most, with 46% support - far ahead of the Liberals, who follow at 21%. The QP and QS can not do better than 16 and 12% respectively in the Old Capital.

François Legault's party also has a good lead of 11 points (36 to 25%) on the PLQ in the suburbs of Montreal, a sector where many seats are played. However, its advantage fell below 10 points in "regions", where the PQ is more successful compared to other sectors in Quebec. He gets 25% of the voting intentions, compared to 34% for the CAQ.

Note that the Coalition comes first among women, 30% against 25% for the PLQ, who are not yet his "clientele" traditional - the party has always been more popular among men.

The CAQ is also in the lead in all age groups, except for the youngest. Quebec solidaire dominates the 18-34 age group with 31% support, while the other three main parties bring scores of 20 to 23%. But young people are the slice of the electorate that moves the least to vote. "It's their challenge, at QS: to present something that will reach older people, and people from the regions too," says Mr. Pinkus.

TO SUBSCRIBE to the Elections Barometer 2018, it's here . Groupe Capitales Médias et Recherche Mainstreet presents to you every day exclusive data, analyzes, and tables to follow daily changes in voting intentions for the October 1st poll.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quebec election: Liberals are slipping in latest poll as war for nationalist votes rages

21 days to go and a new poll by Léger for the Montreal Gazette and Le Devoir gives fresh insight into the battle of Quebec.

Philip Authier, Montreal Gazette
Updated: September 11, 2018

Midway through the election campaign, Quebec’s Liberals are getting no fresh traction with voters while the Coalition Avenir Québec appears to be stuck on a rung trying to climb the ladder to power for the first time ever, a new poll suggests.

In fact, Liberal leader Philippe Couillard’s troops have slipped back to where they were at the start of the campaign. Aside from the small bump the party got from the return of the lost sheep in the non-francophone community two weeks ago, the party lead by Philippe Couillard is mired in second place behind the CAQ instead of showing signs it still has fire in the belly.

Voter intentions

Party most likely to vote for overall (after redistribution)
•Coalition Avenir Québec: 30% (35%)
•Liberal Party: 24% (29%)
•Parti Québécois: 17% (21%)
•Québec solidaire: 9% (11%)
•Green Party: 1% (2%)
•New Democratic Party: 1% (1%)
•Conservative Party of Quebec: 1% (1%)
•Others: 0% (0%)
•Would not vote: 3%
•Would cancel vote: 3%
•Don’t know: 7%
•Refused to answer: 3%

The poll shows the vote is still highly volatile, with 38 per cent saying they could change their mind, a statistic that puts more pressure on the four leaders as they head into the first of three televised debates this week. A full 44 per cent of voters say the debates could prompt them to change their vote.

Produced by Léger for the Montreal Gazette and Le Devoir, the poll shows that with 21 days left to go in the campaign, the Liberals are going in the wrong direction. Rather than picking up steam in the stretch as they have in the past, the Liberals have slipped three percentage points, from 32 per cent two weeks ago to 29 per cent in voter intentions, after redistribution of the undecided vote.

Trends in voting intentions among Quebec voters, according to Leger. Léger

François Legault’s CAQ team is also down two percentage points, from 37 per cent in an August Léger poll to 35 per cent, but still within the range necessary to form a majority government with Legault as premier. Its 42 per cent support among francophones the CAQ had in the Aug. 29 poll remains unchanged.

Pollsters said this exercise did not really measure the full impact of Legault’s decision to play up the language and identity issues last week.

The Liberals excel among non-francophones (70 per cent) but that vote is concentrated on Montreal Island so it represents few actual ridings.

The CAQ has slipped dramatically in the non-francophone vote, from 17 per cent in August to 11 per cent today. Legault admitted Saturday that he has failed to woo anglophone and allophone voters.

Voter intention by language group

•Coalition Avenir Québec: 42%
•Liberal Party: 17%
•Parti Québécois: 25%
•Québec solidaire: 12%
•Green Party: 1%
•New Democratic Party: 0%
•Conservative Party of Quebec: 2%
•Others: 0%

•Coalition Avenir Québec: 11%
•Liberal Party: 70%
•Parti Québécois: 7%
•Québec solidaire: 7%
•Green Party: 3%
•New Democratic Party: 2%
•Conservative Party of Quebec: 0%
•Others: 1%

The Parti Québécois and Québec solidaire, meanwhile, have something to smile about in the battle for Quebec. Despite recent problems with its candidates, support for the PQ has crept up two points, to 21 per cent, while Québec solidaire’s share moved from eight to 11 per cent.

QS’s growth is coming from youth, 18-34. In August it had eight per cent in the category and now it has 18 per cent. The Liberals and CAQ are now tied in the youth vote (28 per cent).

Voter intention among adults 18-34
•Coalition Avenir Québec: 28%
•Liberal Party: 28%
•Parti Québécois: 21%
•Québec solidaire: 18%
•Green Party: 3%
•New Democratic Party: 0%
•Conservative Party of Quebec: 1%
•Others: 0%

Having cracked the 20 per cent level of support, the PQ is back in the electoral sweet spot, out of danger of losing official recognition in the legislature. On the other hand, the PQ’s vote remains very fragile with nearly half (46 per cent) of people who say they plan to vote PQ also saying they could change their mind.

The PQ places second on the question of which party is running the best campaign. The winner in that category is the CAQ. Legault is also judged the best person to be premier (26 percent), well ahead of Couillard (18 per cent).

Using the simulator on the tooclosetocall web site, Léger’s numbers would result in a slim CAQ majority government Oct. 1. The CAQ would have 65 seats compared to 39 for the Liberals, 16 for the PQ and five for QS. You need 63 seats to form a majority government.

Léger does not do such projections, which remain theoretical at best, on its own.

“It’s more bad news for the Liberals,” said Léger vice-president Christian Bourque, adding all the movement in the poll remains within the statistical margin of error so the numbers should be viewed cautiously. “The CAQ has been under attack from all sides for the past week and they seem to be surviving.

“The Liberals are back down where they were before the election started.”

Almost unchanged since the last Léger poll for the two dailies in August is Quebecers’ expectations about the election.

Expected winner of the election

All voters (supporters of that party)
•Coalition Avenir Québec: 43% (78%)
•Liberal Party: 24% (62%)
•Parti Québécois: 7% (24%)
•Québec solidaire: 2% (18%)
•Another party: 1%

The drop in CAQ support and rise of the PQ explains why Legault — likely informed of the trend by the party’s own internal polls — this weekend started to talk about the idea of strategic voting, Bourque said.

He knows the battle raging now is over francophone nationalist votes who are buzzing between the PQ and the CAQ, uncertain which flower to land on. The PQ’s gains, in this poll, came at the expense of the CAQ. The poll, however, shows the CAQ remains the second choice of 39 per cent of PQ voters, which explains the harsh words between Legault and Lisée lately.

“Everything is still in play,” Bourque said. “We are a percentage point or two of a minority scenario, so it’s still a right race.”

On the campaign trail Monday, Legault admitted his party is not moving forward in the race as much as he would like.

“Honestly, I figured the gap would close,” he said. “With three adversaries throwing mud at us day in, day out, some is bound to stick. What’s important for me is peaking on Thursday. We started five points ahead in the polls and we’re still five points ahead.”

This Thursday’s debate will be broadcast on Radio-Canada, Télé-Québec and V starting at 8 p.m. An English debate will take place Sept. 17 followed by another French debate, on TVA, Sept. 20.

The Léger poll shows 52 per cent of Quebecers, including 41 per cent of non-francophones, intend to tune in to the French debate.

Expected winner of the debate

All voters (supporters of that party)
•François Legault (CAQ): 19% (38%)
•Philippe Couillard (Liberal Party): 18% (48%)
•Jean-François Lisée (PQ): 16% (46%)
•Manon Massé (QS): 7% (39%)

While 10 per cent say the debate will influence their vote, and another 34 per cent say it might, 49 per cent say it won’t.

The Léger internet poll of 1,014 voters was conducted from Sept. 7-10. A vote sample this size would has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.08 per cent 19 times out of 20.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Election notebook: Tax cuts for home repairs, better school textbooks

Leader Philippe Couillard at a seniors home

CTV Montreal
Published Sunday, September 9, 2018 4:40PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, September 10, 2018 1:08PM EDT

On Day 18 of the election campaign, CAQ leader Francois Legault found himself in Lac-Megantic, pledging $30 million for school textbooks and outings.

Back in June, the Liberal government announced a new directive that required free admission for any cultural activity offered by schools.

The policy received backlash, with cultural organizations complaining of trip cancellations.

The CAQ also promised $5 million for school libraries.

The Liberals, who recently announced $9.5 million in funding for cultural field trips, were in Trois-Rivieres on Sunday.

While visiting a seniors home, Philippe Couillard promised up to $2,400 in tax credits for families that have to adapt their homes to accommodate an elderly, live-in relative.

It comes on the heels of a similar funding announcement Legault and the CAQ made earlier in September.

Still, critics say the funding commitments aren’t enough.

“We need to put more money into the CLSCs,” said Matt Del Vecchio, a senior care consultant.

A Canada-wide study showed that caregivers and their unpaid work save the health system $5 billion per year.

Del Vecchio wants their concerns to be heard during this campaign.

“You see it in their eyes,” he said. “They’re doing the best they can but they can’t keep up.”

Couillard also promised an increase in psychological support and respite centres, measures that would cost $89 million annually.

In the Eastern townships, Quebec Solidaire spokesperson Mannon Masse promised to use the current Generations Fund to support green, environmentally-friendly infrastructure.

Meanwhile, in Quebec City the PQ also focused on the environment.

Jean-Francois Lisee said his party would control high gas prices by creating a separate consumer protection office that would look into industry price fixing.

“Every Tuesday or Wednesday, something wrong happens in the gas stations in the Montreal area,” he said. “That situation just begs for an inquiry.”

With files from The Canadian Press


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quebec election may be defined by debate over identity, immigration

The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, September 11, 2018 7:49PM EDT

MONTREAL -- After weeks of pitching promises and slinging mud from afar, Quebec's political leaders began preparing for their first face-to-face tilt as they reached the halfway point of the provincial election campaign Tuesday.

The leaders began scaling back on activities, with their focus turning to Thursday night's highly anticipated French debate.

Meanwhile, a Leger poll conducted for the Montreal Gazette and Montreal Le Devoir suggested the Coalition Avenir Quebec was still leading the Liberal party, but that a large number of voters could still be in play.

Quebec leaders' debate
The Quebec leaders' debate will feature Quebec solidaire leader Manon Masse, Parti quebecois leader Jean-Francois Lisee, Liberal leader Philippe Couillard and CAQ leader Francois Legault.

"We still see the CAQ in the lead at 35 per cent, they're holding on strong with over 42 per cent of francophone voter intentions in Quebec," said Christian Bourque of Leger.

"And they are fully six points ahead of the Liberals at 29 per cent so this would still put Francois Legault, mathematically, in majority territory."

But Bourque said there are also signals the race is tightening up ahead of Oct. 1, including a hike in support for the Parti Quebecois.

The Internet poll of 1,014 voters was conducted between Sept. 7-10.

Concordia University political scientist Daniel Salee said one thing missing from the campaign so far is a large project, but he added that was also the case in recent campaigns in Ontario or New Brunswick.

"We seem to be in a kind of environment and political spirit where, essentially, greater vision or social and political projects are not on the agenda," Salee said. "It's more about very specific policy questions ... what can I do to please that group of the electorate."

While the Liberals have suggested in recent days that immigration and identity may turn out to be the ballot question, Salee said that remains to be seen.

The question of how many foreigners to welcome to Quebec -- in the wake of labour shortages across the province -- has become an issue, with the Liberals wanting to maintain the current levels of 50,000 a year before eventually increasing them.

"It follows in the footsteps of this constant protracted discussion we've had in Quebec since the reasonable accommodation debate in 2007," Salee said. "It's kind of an unresolved issue and it's a question of showing ... (which party) who has the higher moral ground."

Coalition Leader Francois Legault, who wants to reduce the number to 40,000, challenged his Liberal rival, Philippe Couillard, to indicate before Thursday's debate how many more newcomers he would bring in.

"In 2002, before the Liberals came to power (in 2003), we took in 37,000 immigrants and then in their first full year, they had 44,000," Legault said.

"Are we going have 60,000, 70,000?"

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about the topic during a visit to Winnipeg on Tuesday.

"It won't surprise you that I am strongly in favour of immigration as a source of economic growth," Trudeau said.

"And when I've travelled throughout Quebec, what I've heard most often are concerns about an aging population and a labour shortage. So we need immigration to create this economic growth."

Back in Quebec, Couillard made a $200-million pledge to provide free public transit for all seniors and full-time students across the province and was asked what he would change given his party's poll numbers.

"Certainly not my values and the values of my party," he replied. "I do think the vast majority of Quebecers rally around these values and I also do think our policies since 2014 have been in tune with those values and I'm not ever bargaining my values away."

Thursday's debate, as well as two others next week, could be turning points in the campaign.

Bourque said while seven per cent of those polled said they were undecided, 38 per cent of those who had a preference said they could change their minds. And 44 per cent said they could change their minds based on the performances in the debates.

"There's a lot of banana peels in front of the party leaders between now and Oct. 1," Bourque said.

Parti Quebecois Leader Jean-Francois Lisee, meanwhile, announced plans to impose a series of measures including limiting the salaries of Crown corporation executives to a maximum of $250,000 per year, except for the head of the Caisse de depot pension fund.

The PQ said it would also introduce a tax on companies that have a significant gap between the income paid to executives and to employees; institute stricter rules on tax havens; and apply provincial sales tax to foreign goods purchased online.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Election notebook: Couillard defends dairy; CAQ wants better neonatal care

The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, September 12, 2018 1:59PM EDT

Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard says he'll consider going to court to block or delay the adoption of a new NAFTA if the deal is unsatisfactory to Quebec farmers.

Couillard said in Montreal today the province won't accept an agreement that doesn't meet the approval of dairy producers, who are against dismantling of the supply management system that regulates the price of dairy, eggs and poultry.

He says he won't present any deal to the legislature that the agricultural sector opposes.

But while he's willing to take legal action if necessary, Couillard added that so far he has received no indications the Trudeau government is planning to bend to American demands.

On Tuesday, former prime minister Brian Mulroney said he didn't see how Canada can reach a deal without some flexibility on supply management.

CAQ calls for better care for children with developmental disorders

Quebec's babies should be systematically screened for neurodevelopmental disorders, according to Coalition Avenir Quebec leader Francois Legault, so they can receive better care from birth.

Legault laid out his plans in L'Assomption on Wednesday, accompanied by candidate Lionel Carmant, a neuropediatrician who specializes in neurodevelopmental disorders.

The plan would include "guaranteed access" to a family doctor or a pediatrician for newborns.

In addition, children whose family, day care, nurse or doctor suspect suffers from a developmental disorder would be redirected to a CLSC for follow up.

The party also proposed that each of Quebec's health and social services centres and integrated university centres for health and social services have teams trained to specialize in developmental disorders.

The CAQ estimated this plan would cost $40 million per year.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quebec election: Sparks fly during first of three leaders' debates

Philip Authier, Montreal Gazette

September 14, 2018

September 14, 2018 8:10 AM EDT

Filed Under:

Canoe ›

Liberals' Philippe Couillard accuses CAQ's François Legault of scaring people with his party's proposed immigration policies.

François Legault went on the offensive in Thursday’s leaders’ debate, pouncing on a Liberal candidate’s inflammatory remarks about the Coalition Avenir Québec’s immigration policies to accuse Philippe Couillard of portraying his party as intolerant.

But Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard pulled his own fast one on the CAQ Leader, blasting him for failing to show up at a joint news conference of Quebec players standing up for the supply management system.

In a lively and animated two-hour debate between the four candidates on Radio-Canada, sparks flew over the CAQ’s controversial plan to impose French and values tests on new arrivals and lower the level of immigration by 20 per cent.

As the evening was winding down, Legault tried to surprise Couillard by referring to remarks made by the Liberal candidate in the riding of Taillon, Mohammed Barhone, who recently delivered a speech in which he said the CAQ’s policies amount to “immigrant cleaning.”

Barhone also said the CAQ’s policy will be to not provide services to a woman wearing a hijab.

“Will you apologize and force that candidate out of the race,” Legault said, waving his finger at Couillard, who rapidly said the candidate has apologized.

But Legault wouldn’t let it go.

“You tolerated this like you tolerated Carlos Leitão (the Liberal finance minister) who said we in the CAQ were racist.”

“You know why people react like this,” responded Couillard. “You scare them. Don’t open the door to expulsions.”

“Quebecers are fed up with your moralizing,” Legault answered.

“When you say expulsion, we’re not talking about expelling citizens. We’re talking about expelling people who are not yet citizens.”

And so it went in a debate that arrived just in time. Many feel the campaign leading to the Oct. 1 vote is stagnating and the event, viewed by more than a million Quebecers, was seen as a way to break the logjam.

The leaders didn’t disappoint, kicking around the issues of the day and each other, too.

In a twist for a Quebec election, which used to be dominated by the old sovereignty-federalism debate, the vast part of the evening was focused on ideas and the kind of government the parties are offering taxpayers.

“Clarity, different points of view, we’re moving forward,” host Patrice Roy said as the debate passed the midway point.

The predicted gang-up on Legault, who leads in the polls, was muted by the fact there were four candidates. He emerged largely unscathed, while Couillard found himself constantly under attack over his government’s austerity agenda and the $1 billion handed to the province’s medical specialists.

If two did shine, it was the duo of Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée and Québec solidaire co-spokesperson Manon Massé. Lisée aggressively stood his ground, not allowing Legault and Couillard to grab all the spotlight, while Massé used her trademark no-nonsense way of talking to bring her opponents down a notch.

The tone was set from the start when the first of eight citizens asked a question about the quality of care in the province’s long term public care senior homes.

Immediately, the Liberal past and it’s health and social services record roared to life as a theme, with Lisée launching an attack following reports of a resident being forced to sleep in their wheelchair.

“You never showed any compassion,” Lisée fired across at Couillard. “You don’t have the monopoly on compassion,” responded Couillard.

Legault also ripped Couillard saying his record on senior care is “shameful.”

And there was no love lost between the candidates when it came to emergency wait times, with Legault saying Couillard, when he was health minister in the Charest government, was supposed to solve the problem.

The CAQ’s promise to bring wait times to 90 minutes on average (from 140 minutes now) over four years was greeted with much skepticism.

“Explain how you will do it,” Couillard said to Legault.

“You propose a … reduction in wait times, but there isn’t a damn cent for this in your financial plan,” added Massé.

Couillard reminded Legault that it was when he was a PQ health minister who signed a letter with Quebec’s doctors in 2002 pledging to level the playing field between salaries in Quebec and the other provinces.

Pouncing, Lisée asked Legault why Quebec’s doctors’ salaries should be based on those in Ontario.

“We live in a capitalist system,” Legault said. “It seems like you live on another planet.”

But Lisée fired back, “it’s not (Ontario Premier) Doug Ford who sets the salaries of Quebec doctors.”

This sparked a debate over who cut the most with Couillard trotting out an old video clip of Legault where he appeared to say cutting in education makes sense.

“I never said that,” Legault fired back, noting it was Couillard’s government that cut staffing for children for learning disabilities.

Thursday’s debate was the first of three. On Monday the leaders meet for a televised English debate. Then they do it all over again in French on the TVA network next Thursday, Sept 20.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quebec election: Health care is No. 1 voter issue

All four main political parties agree that more money should be spent on health care, but details of their platforms differ sharply.

Aaron Derfel, Montreal Gazette
Updated: September 17, 2018

As a longtime resident of multi-ethnic Côte-des-Neiges, 60-year-old Alp Hasan has voted consistently for the Quebec Liberals over the years.

But this year, Hasan is unsure which party he’ll vote for on Oct. 1. He blames his indecisiveness on the Liberal government’s handling of health care in the past four years — a period during which the public system underwent its most radical reforms since the introduction of medicare in the province in 1970.

“I’m not impressed with the way the Liberals have been dealing with the health-care system, and I’m going to wait until I hear everybody out before I decide to vote,” said Hasan, who is both a patient with hypertension and a caregiver to his wife.

“The thing I don’t like was the tactic of withholding money from health care, and then all of a sudden right now before the election there seems to be all this money pouring out,” he added, alluding to a series of funding announcements by Health Minister Gaétan Barrette for the renovation and expansion of hospitals, including St. Mary’s and the Montreal General.

Observers credit the Liberal government’s austerity agenda — which included budget cuts to hospitals — for the fact that the government ended the last fiscal year with a $2.3-billion surplus. It’s in this context that the province’s economy has revved up as unemployment has dropped to historic lows.

Such solid economic numbers should normally bode well for the re-election chances of an incumbent government. Yet Philippe Couillard’s Liberals have struggled in second place behind the Coalition Avenir Québec in a string of polls.

Critics contend that Couillard and Barrette cut too deeply in health care in their zeal to bring the province’s finances under control, and their bottom-line approach has backfired. Regardless of the economy, Quebecers now consider the deleterious state of the health system as their most pressing concern in this election campaign, according to an Aug. 29 Vote Compass survey.

In the 2014 election, 47 per cent of respondents rated the economy as the top issue, followed by 21 per cent who picked health care. This year, however, 32 per cent chose health as their No. 1 election priority, followed by education (24 per cent) and then the economy (22 per cent).

Damien Contandriopoulos, an expert on Quebec health policy at the University of Victoria, suggested that Barrette’s abrasive style in implementing his reforms have hurt the Liberals politically. Under Bill 10, Barrette merged the management of hospitals across the province, eliminating more than 1,300 managerial jobs to save tens of millions of dollars in salaries.

“Barrette managed to get into fights with physicians’ unions, pharmacists, hospital managers, the nurses and the support staff,” Contandriopoulos said. “There isn’t a single group that wasn’t at war with Barrette.”

Couillard had resisted repeated calls for Barrette’s resignation in the last couple of years. But at the outset of this campaign, the premier announced that Gertrude Bourdon, the soft-spoken executive director of the CHU de Québec-Université Laval, would serve as the next health minister should the Liberals win re-election, with Barrette as Couillard’s choice for Treasury Board president.

The Liberals have also sought to portray themselves as willing to invest massively in the health system, promising to spend an extra $200 million on home care and expanding free basic dental coverage to children up to the age of 16.

But will such pledges be enough? The front-running CAQ, the Parti Québécois and Québec solidaire have made generous spending promises as well, and at the same time the three parties have been merciless in their criticism of the Liberals.

Nowhere was this criticism more scathing than in the first debate of the campaign, which was held exclusively on the subject of health. CAQ candidate Danielle McCann, the former head of the Montreal regional health agency that Barrette abolished, spoke about Émilie Ricard, a young nurse in Sherbrooke who posted a tearful selfie on Facebook last winter relating her exhaustion after taking care of at least 70 patients on an overnight shift.

Diane Lamarre, the PQ’s health critic, mentioned Ricard, too. “The government’s reforms to the health system have dehumanized the work of nurses,” Lamarre said during the debate.

The opposition parties also assailed Couillard and Barrette, both medical specialists by training, for agreeing to hefty “catch-up” raises for the province’s specialists. While hospital budgets have shrunk, specialists now earn more on average than their Ontario counterparts despite Quebec’s lower cost of living.

All four main political parties share the view that more money should be spent on health care and social services, even though such expenditures are budgeted this year to exceed $38 billion. Dario Ayala / Montreal Gazette

Contandriopoulos noted that the number of specialists will soon make up 60 per cent of the province’s doctors, and he warned that this could end up weakening primary care in favour of much more expensive hospital-based care.

All four main political parties share the view that more money should be spent on health care and social services, even though such expenditures are budgeted this year to exceed $38 billion. The details of their platforms differ sharply, though. The CAQ’s vision is decidedly populist, vowing to roll back the raises of specialists while slashing hospital parking fees.

Québec solidaire comes closest to seeking to undo Barrette’s reforms by committing to “modify the mega-structures to give smaller organizations more autonomy.” The PQ, for its part, wants to strengthen the province’s network of public CLSC clinics while giving nurse practitioners more power.

That leaves the Liberals, who will stick with Barrette’s reforms — albeit with some minor tinkering.

Regardless of who wins the next election, fixing the province’s overcrowded ERs, shortening surgical wait lists, easing access to family doctors and improving care for the elderly will remain nearly insurmountable challenges.

“No one plan will do it all,” said Amélie Quesnel-Vallée, a medical sociologist at McGill University.

Contandriopoulos was more bleak in his assessment.

“When we talk about demographic changes, we’re only at the beginning of the curve,” he said. “Quebec will (in a few years have) a much higher proportion of elderly people, and as it stands, the health-care system won’t be able to deal with this.”


The Quebec Liberal Party pledges that 95 per cent of the population will have a family doctor by the end of the next four years. Its other promises:

Increase the number of super clinics by 25 from the current 49.

Boost health spending by 4.2 per cent.

Provide free basic dental coverage to children between the ages of 11 and 16.

Train 2,000 nurse practitioners by 2024-2025.

Allow pharmacists to give vaccines.

Penalize doctors by Dec. 31 under Bill 20 if they do not agree to examine more patients.

Reduce hospital parking to $7 a day, which would amount to a $100-million investment. Parking would also be free at CHSLD nursing homes.

The Coalition Avenir Québec will pump a total of $500 million into health care and guarantee that patients will be able to consult a family doctor or nurse practitioner within 36 hours. The CAQ’s other promises:

Abolish mandatory overtime for nurses and decrease the caseload of patients per nurse.

Ensure that hospital parking will be free for the first two hours, and depending on the region, cap fees to $7 or $10 per day.

Renovate hospital and CHSLDs, or public long-term care centres.

Decentralize the health network, while ceding more control to the board of directors of institutions.

Provide $22 million in support for parents of disabled children.

The Parti Québécois wants to allocate an extra $100 million annually for home care over five years. The PQ’s other promises:

Invest $60 million in support for those with intellectual disabilities, plus another $60 million for the care of those on the autism spectrum as well as for respite care.

Impose a salary freeze on doctors.

Grant 200,000 health professionals a greater role in medical decision-making.

Guarantee access to a nurse practitioner in each CLSC until 9 p.m., seven days a week.

Prevent “the ping-pong of doctors” between the private and public sectors.

Ease the burden on nurses and orderlies.

Create a new network of clinics without doctors that will be led by nurse practitioners, similar to what now exists in Ontario.

End the ability of doctors to incorporate themselves to save on taxes.

Reinvest in mental health and home care.

Cover the first cycle of in vitro fertilization under medicare.

Reinstate the position of health commissioner.

Québec solidaire would set up an agency called Pharma Quebec to establish a universal drug insurance plan for everyone. The agency would invest $2.5 billion to buy prescription drugs in bulk, as well as for manufacturing and research. Québec solidaire’s other promises:

Ensure access to health care 24 hours a day thanks to reinforced CLSCs, expanded home care, a family doctor for each person and better psychiatric care.

Prevent doctors from being able to quit the public system.

Prevent doctors from leaving CLSCs to practise in clinics known as GMFs.

Ensure free access to all types of medical imaging outside of hospitals. At present, clinics can charge for MRIs outside of hospitals.

Create a public dental plan for adults, with the government covering 80 per cent of the cost of preventive services and 60 per cent of the cost of dental repairs.

Boost the funding of CLSCs and palliative care.

Grant nurse practitioners more autonomy.

Reduce the salaries of doctors by making them employees of the state rather than the current status of many, who are independent workers.

Save $925 million by renegotiating the government’s agreement with specialists.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quebec party leaders to face off in historic English-language debate

By Canadian Press. Published on Sep 17, 2018 4:00am

MONTREAL — Quebec’s four would-be premiers face off tonight in the province’s first-ever televised English-language debate.

Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard, Francois Legault of the Coalition Avenir Quebec, Jean-Francois Lisee of the Parti Quebecois and Quebec solidaire’s Manon Masse will all be hoping to impress English-speaking voters ahead of the Oct. 1 election.

The candidates will debate topics including education, health, economy, identity, the environment and relations with the English-speaking community.

While the themes are similar to those of last week’s debate in French, this time the candidates will have the added challenge of expressing themselves in their second language.

The English-speaking community has traditionally voted overwhelmingly for the federalist Liberals, however more votes could be at play this time since none of the major parties are calling for a referendum on Quebec separation.

The first debate took place last week, while another French-language showdown is scheduled for Thursday.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Immigration takes centre stage at Quebec English-language leaders debate

'Your policy is not acceptable,' Philippe Couillard tells François Legault on immigration plan

Benjamin Shingler, Loreen Pindera · CBC News · Posted: Sep 17, 2018 5:00 PM ET | Last Updated: an hour ago

From left to right, Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard, PQ Leader Jean-François Lisée, CAQ Leader Francois Legault and Québec Solidaire co-spokesperson Manon Massé shake hands before their English debate Monday. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)


Immigration policy, once again, featured as a key issue in Quebec's election campaign as Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard and his chief rival François Legault, the leader of Coalition Avenir Québec, sparred repeatedly at Monday's historic English-language debate.

It was the first televised debate in English between Quebec's political leaders, with two weeks left before Quebecers go to the polls Oct. 1.

The showdown came at a crucial moment in the 39-day race, after no clear winner emerged from last week's French-language debate and Legault, the front-runner, fumbled questions about his party's immigration platform over the weekend.

Couillard repeatedly took aim at Legault's plan to cut the number of immigrants by more than 20 per cent, to 40,000 a year, and to impose French-language and values tests on new arrivals.

"I have never heard a political leader in Quebec, ever, recommend not only diminishing the number of immigrants we take in, but proposing expulsion tests for immigrants, which made them very, very frightened today," Couillard said.

"Your policy is not acceptable," he told Legault at another point in the debate.

The CAQ leader countered that the current immigration policy isn't working because too many new arrivals — 26 per cent, he said — are leaving the province.

"Twenty-six per cent leaving is a failure," he said, pointing a finger at Couillard.

"What we think at the CAQ is that it's better to take less but give each of them more services," Legault said.

Legault, left, defended his contentious immigration policy, criticizing Couillard's Liberal government. 'They didn't help the newcomers in Quebec,' he said. (Allen McInnis/Montreal Gazette)

Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée, who was clearly the most comfortable in his second language, slammed both of his main rivals, telling Couillard: "You talk a good talk, but your track record is dismal."

Lisée said the Couillard government hasn't invested enough in integrating and teaching French to immigrants.

But Legault's approach makes even less sense, he said.

"You would scare them away," Lisée told Legault. "You know so little about immigration."

Manon Massé, whose left-leaning Québec Solidaire appears poised to make gains on Oct. 1, was the least comfortable in English and, at times, struggled to articulate her platform.

In a question from a Nigerian refugee, who asked about the challenges of finding a job as an English speaker, she made reference to her own difficulties.

"It's hard to learn a new a language," she said. "With real investment in French-language training, I think that will help."

Lisée, whose fluency in English made him appear most at ease in the debate, listens as Massé makes a point. 'It's hard to learn a new language,' said Massé, referring to her own challenges as she talked about the difficulties newcomers face. (Allen McInnis/Montreal Gazette)

Costing pre-kindergarten

The debate touched on six main subjects: education, health, the economy, the environment, identity and relations with English-speaking Quebecers.

The leaders picked up on many of the key talking points they have been stressing throughout the campaign.

The challenges of keeping anglophones in the province and turning out fully bilingual young people ready for the Quebec workforce disintegrated into a shouting match between Couillard and Legault over who could do a better job of bookkeeping.

Couillard argued that Legault's proposal to open pre-kindergarten classrooms across the province for all four-year-olds was unrealistic.

The CAQ maintains the plan would cost $311 million and open 50,000 spots in public daycare.

"You didn't cost it," said Couillard, a retired neurosurgeon. "You vastly underestimated the cost in your financial statement."

Legault replied: "You're a doctor. I'm a chartered accountant. I think I know the numbers better than you."

On a question about access to health care in English in the regions, Legault again hammered away at Couillard for his government's deal with specialists, who now earn more than their counterparts in Ontario.

The CAQ leader said the money spent on that agreement should have gone to improving care, especially outside Montreal.

"That's where the money went in health care — to the specialists," Legault said.

"You could not tear this agreement apart," Couillard said in defence, countering that the agreement had ensured specialists would be available in rural areas.

For his part, Lisée suggested the comparison between specialist salaries in Quebec and "Doug Ford's Ontario" is moot.

"We want Quebecers to decide how much they should be paid," he said.

Lisée said a PQ government would ensure English-speakers have access to health care in their own language and it would keep the secretariat for anglophone affairs established by the Liberal government last year. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Lisée said a PQ government would ensure English-speakers have access to care.

That was echoed by Couillard, who said his government's recently formed secretariat for anglophone issues aims to ensure access to health care services in English.

Lisée referred to the speech he "famously wrote" for Lucien Bouchard in the former PQ premier's historic meeting with anglophone Quebecers at the Centaur Theatre in 1996.

"Mr. Bouchard said when you're in pain, when you get to the hospital, you don't need a language test, you need a blood test."

"That was a good speech," Couillard interjected, laughing, prompting a smile from the PQ leader — the first hint of the evening that the PQ and the Liberal leaders see themselves as allies in the fight to wrest votes from the CAQ's Legault.

Wage gap vs. labour shortage

When discussion turned to the economy and Quebec's high income tax burden, the CAQ leader said a critical problem is the persistent wage gap between workers in Ontario and Quebec.

"This gap of 11 per cent was there 15 years ago, and it hasn't changed," said Legault.

"The main economic challenge facing Quebec today is not salary," snapped Couillard in response. "It's [the] labour shortage — which Mr. Legault refuses to recognize exists."

Couillard makes a point during the English leaders' debate. (Allen McInnis/Montreal Gazette)

There will be one more leaders debate — in French, later in the week — before the vote.

Polls suggest the CAQ is in majority territory, buoyed by its popularity among francophones.

The Liberals are second in the polls, followed by the Parti Québécois and Québec Solidaire.

CBC Quebec presented the debate, in partnership with CTV, Global, CJAD, Citytv and the Montreal Gazette.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You see them talking about immigration -- Bernier's issue -- late in the election. Where will the nationalists go, I wonder ... if they can only barely deal with Anglo-Canadians, what are they going to make of 25,000 unvetted "Syrians" -- many from Ethiopia and other places where life is cheap.

I don't think the media is keeping people abreast of the Roxton Road influx ... but the greatest impact must surely be Quebec, at least until they can ship these lost souls -- surely the dregs of the dregs of America -- out to Edmonton and such places, where nobody cares if they pick off a few Canadians.

This is another of those issues that only grows with time. in two years, a trickle has become a stream, and now (I hear) on some days 300 refugees cross there. Those numbers are probably on an exponential curve, which is another way of saying that 300 a day likely to double within a year. 300 a day is 100,000 a year, but it is a growing torrent. It has to be stopped soon, but can Justin reverse himself when he makes one of his grand gestures before the world?

He hasn't shown us that quality.

The milk cartel will lower its profile when this is over. They don't want Anglo-Canada to get 'woke' to how that happened. But one can bet that, as the number of these refugees grows, there will be more unexplained murders, more violence ... it will only grow. Fertile ground for Bernier ...
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Quebec Provincial Election on October 1

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