On Saturday, the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) announced seven new candidacies for the upcoming elections on the Island of Montreal, where the party currently has no MNAs.

The head of the CAQ, François Legault, revealed the names of those who will wear the "caquiste" colours in several metropolitan sectors.

Among the candidates are Julie Séide (Bourassa-Sauvé), Simon Langelier (Laurier-Dorion), Vicky Michaud (Marguerite-Bourgeoys) and Marc Hétu (Marquette).

Sonya Cormier, Janny Gaspard and Michelle Morin will try to get elected respectively in the ridings of Rosemont, Viau and Westmount-Saint-Louis.

Morin said she joined the CAQ because of its economic message, saying it resonated with her as a businesswoman and single mother. She acknowledged she has an uphill battle in the longtime Liberal stronghold of Westmount-St-Louis, which has been represented by Jacques Chagnon since 1998. 

Chagnon has been rumoured to be considering retirement. 

"I think I have an advantage," she said. "Finally they'll have a candidate there that is fluently bilingual. I'm fluent in English, I was educated in English, my mother was an American who immigrated here."

Legault says he is "inspired" by the "diversity of interests" among his candidates.

According to Legault, the Quebec Liberal Party "takes Montreal for granted," adding that the province's schools are "falling into ruin."

"More and more families are thinking of moving to the suburbs," Legault said in a statement. "After 15 years, it is time for these families to say what they think of the Liberal government. We have gathered the change team for them, looking towards October 1st."

"The island of Montreal does not belong to the Liberal Party. It belongs to all Montrealers and all of Quebec," he added. 

Legault said he hopes the upcoming election will be the first one in years where the sovereignty issue is not a defining question for voters. 

"The ballot question will be about who has the best program for the economy, education and healthcare," he said. 

Legault noted that the CAQ's official position is to never have a referendum for a sovereign Quebec, saying Anglophones who specifically oppose Quebec independence will have a choice in the upcoming election. The comment was in response to a comment by Premier Philippe Couillard earlier this week where he questioned whether Legault, a one-time MNA for the PQ, was still a sovereignist. 

The announcement came the same day a new Leger-Le Devoir-Journal de Montreal poll showed the CAQ is maintaing a solid lead over the other parties.

According to the survey, 35 per cent of those polled said they intend to vote for the CAQ, an increase of one point since April.

The Liberals lost three points, coming in at 26 per cent, while 22 per cent and 10 per cent expressed support for the Parti Quebecois and Quebec solidaire, respectively. 

Legault expressed cautious optimism at the numbers. 

"I don't take anything for granted, I expect it to tighten up," he said. "I admit our opponents have not had an extraordinary performance in the last few months, so I expect them to improve."