Quebec Liberals plot strategy for winter session
Published Tuesday, February 5, 2013 2:40PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 5, 2013 8:01PM EST
The Quebec Liberal Party is plotting their strategy of the upcoming session of the National Assembly in a two-day retreat north of Quebec City.
Delegates were all smiles as they met in Lac Beauport, discussing goals for the next session, due to start next week, as the party heads into the final phase of the leadership race.
The Liberals said they’re ready to work with the Parti Quebecois in a few areas, including reforming political party financing.
Issues it plans to address with the PQ
Several issues are sure to push buttons, including the Parti Quebecois's plan to promote sovereignty, a recent decision to stop co-operating with other provinces in negotiating health care with Ottawa, and plans to revamp the Charter of the French Language with Bill 14.
Interim leader Jean-Marc Fournier said there's no need to strengthen existing protections of the French language.
“More and more Anglophones speak French, Why? Because they want to feel at home,” said Fournier.
The leader also said Liberals want Premier Pauline Marois to table a bill on oil and gas and mineral development by April 1.
It’s time to clearly define what companies can expect when it comes to paying royalties, he said.
“What are the conditions for investors to come, for Quebec to have revenue, for Quebec to support health services and education services? That is why we do politics, to help and serve our citizens,” said Fournier.
Fournier is also very concerned about the upcoming Higher Education Summit, set to be led by PQ minister Pierre Duschesne.
Fournier said whatever else happens, the PQ has to abandon the idea that students should have a 'right to strike' cemented in law.
"It is not a right that exists. It is not the right of a student association or others to go into a classroom to make noise, to make some action, that prohibits people from following the lesson they paid for and they want to follow," said Fournier.
Leadership race continues
Meanwhile the three men running for leadership of the party are recruiting delegates.
To date three ridings have picked delegates, with two members openly supporting Philippe Couillard and Pierre Moreau. No delegate has openly supported the third candidate, Raymond Bachand.
Many MNAs are not being shy in voicing their support for the candidate of their choice.
MNA Robert Poeti said he supports Moreau, and said for one, frontrunner Philippe Couillard doesn’t have a seat in the National Assembly.
“Mr. Moreau and Mr. Bachand are already in the caucus. They are part of the official opposition. Mr. Couillard is not,” he said.
MNA Kathleen Weil, however, said she’s confident Couillard’s character will carry him to victory.
“In Philippe Couillard, for me he represents an individual with a lot of charisma, lots of leadership. Mostly because he's very confident in all of his ideas, and it doesn't take him too long to see clearly and to see the way through," said Weil.
The Liberal party will choose Jean Charest's successor on March 17.