Quebec sheds 26,000 jobs, 'It's normal' says Marois
Published Friday, March 7, 2014 12:35PM EST
Last Updated Monday, March 10, 2014 10:49AM EDT
Premier Pauline Marois does not seem flustered by news of massive job losses in Quebec in February.
"I think it's normal," she said at a press conference while campaigning in Blainville Friday.
Marois said that the February result - which saw 26,000 jobs disappear in Quebec - does not represent a true portrait of the job situation in Quebec.
"We can't conclude based on the results of this month," said Marois.
This 26,000 lost jobs topped all provinces and led Quebec's unemployment rate to leap upwards from 7.5 percent to 7.8 percent.
Other provinces saw much more promising results, as 19,000 jobs were gained in Alberta, and 3,000 each for New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
“This employment decline follows a slight upward trend that began in September 2013,” according to Statistics Canada.
Marois has promised to create 172,000 jobs over the next five years.
She rejected the notion, floated by Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard, that the job losses are a consequence of the PQ’s focus on the Charter of Values and language.
Marois said when the PQ came to power in 2012, they were left with an incomplete policy by the Liberal government. She said the Liberals placed all their eggs in a one basket called the Plan Nord.
Couillard said Friday the province lost thousands of full-time jobs last year, a development he says is “catastrophic.”
“This is why my three colleagues decided to jump into politics, because they cannot tolerate this anymore,” he said.
“We have so much assets, so much potential here in Quebec. We should be doing much better. How can we do better? If we focus on real issues and stop the side show,”
Couillard said Thursday he would aim to create 250,000 jobs over five years if he was elected, and presented three former economists as candidates in Liberal strongholds.
The employment numbers for March will be released on April 4, three days before the election.
-- with files from The Canadian Press
Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois speaks to the media while campaigning Friday, March 7, 2014 in Blainville, Que.. Quebecers will vote in a provincial election April 7, 2014.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz