Charest promises to tackle Quebec debt with mining royalties
Published Saturday, August 11, 2012 5:19PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 14, 2012 3:12PM EDT
VICTORIAVILLE, Que. - Quebec Premier Jean Charest is taking aim at the Coalition Avenir Quebec on the campaign trail this weekend.
He says the Liberals are better prepared to manage the province's economy than their fledgling rivals.
Charest told a campaign event in Victoriaville with the Liberal youth wing that if re-elected he would use mining royalties from his much-touted northern development plan to help pay down the debt.
The town of Victoriaville set up extra security outside of the conference in hopes of preventing a repeat of the violent protests that took place on May 4. At that time, six protesters and three police officers were taken to hospital when hundreds of student protesters clashed with police as the Quebec Liberal party held a policy meeting.
Extra security wasn’t required Saturday, as only a handful of activists sat outside the event.
Inside, Charest said the CAQ hasn’t explained how they would pay for their ideas.
For its part, the CAQ says it wants to take over some environmental responsibilities from the federal government and, at the same time, ban the export of asbestos.
Party leader Francois Legault says he would work to find alternative jobs for those hoping to work at Quebec's Jeffrey asbestos mine, which recently received a loan from the Charest government to reopen.
He also suggested a moratorium on shale gas development.
Meantime, the Parti Quebecois focused on healthcare, promising family doctors for everyone within four years, and more flexibility for pharmacists to renew prescriptions.
The PQ also said federal transfer payments come to Quebec with strings attached and rules on how the money will be spent, but an independent Quebec would do what it wants with its money.
Recent opinion polls suggest Legault's party is gaining support but is still behind the Liberals and the leading Parti Quebecois.
With a report from CTVMontreal.ca