Gaetan Barrette to run for CAQ
MONTREAL - Francois Legault’s Coalition Avenir Quebec unveiled star candidate Gaetan Barrette Tuesday morning, who gave a fiery speech attacking his opponents.
Barrette, who is the President of the Federation of Medical Specialists of Quebec, will run in Terrebonne.
Barrette said in a Tuesday-morning news conference that he could no longer stand on the sidelines and took aim at the Parti Quebecois in his comments.
“When we look at where the economy is going around the world, you’d have to be irresponsible to put Quebec’s economic situation and health system into play. I’m a big defender of the public health system and for the system to work, you’ve got to make things work economically,” he said.
The Terrebonne riding is currently held by PQ’s Mathieu Traversy who won with 45 per cent of the 57,000 votes in 2008.
Barrette, who would be health minister if the CAQ were to get elected, promised that every family would have a family doctor.
“You will not only have a family doctor, but you will also have access to your doctor,” he said.
Barrette has often criticized the way healthcare is managed in Quebec, and is now seeking to evoke change.
“I'm talking about making it more efficient. It's not because it's a public system that it has to be inefficient,” said Barrette.
Healthcare is often a main priority during elections, and Legault said Barrette is one of the most credible voices on the topic.
“I chose Dr. Barrette because he's the most competent to manage the healthcare ministry. It's as simple as that,” he said.
Barrette's ambitions may extend beyond healthcare. The doctor chose to speak more about language than health to the English media at the Tuesday news conference.
“In my mind, the divide that existed through the years between the French and the English has to stop,” he said, adding that the Liberals have long taken the Anglophone vote for granted
“The Anglo community should be aware the Liberal party is not D.O.A; they're DOD, dead on departure,” he said.
With star candidates like Barrette, the CAQ could surprise, said political analyst Robert Libman.
“He's a big coup for the party,” he said. “There's certainly a feel out there not to vote Liberal and not to vote PQ – and a look for a change. Their slogan is based on change and in an election with vote slitting, anyone can come up the middle.”
In a close race, all three major parties are courting the Anglo vote, including the Parti Quebecois.
“If they want to choose a party that has been very open to the English community, which has respected the English community, I think that is the Parti Quebecois,” said leader Pauline Marois.
Meantime, the CAQ also introduced Claire Samson as candidate for Iberville.
Samson, 57, has been President and CEO of the Association of Film and Television Council since January 2000.
That South Shore riding has been held by the PQ Marie Bouille, who won the riding with 41 per cent of the vote in 2008.