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Here's what Quebec's premier wants from the federal party leaders
Published Tuesday, September 17, 2019 1:51PM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, September 17, 2019 8:12PM EDT
Premier Francois Legault on Tuesday joined the list of those who have been making public their wishes for whoever forms the next government of Canada.
Legault said he has four areas he wants to the federal powers-to-be to focus on in order for Quebec to be "free to make its own choices in all areas related to its existence."
Those four areas are:
- Broader powers for Quebec in terms of managing the number and type of immigrants it takes in, as well as the linguistic and social requirements for them.
- That the federal government respect Bill 21, the province's state neutrality legislation, and not contest it legally.
- That businesses under federal jurisdiction be subject to Bill 101.
- The implementation of a single income tax, to be managed by the government of Quebec.
Legault said with all the demands he laid out, he is not asking leaders to agree with him, but to respect that Quebec is free to make its own choices.
"I'm trying to defend the interests of Quebec and Quebecers," said Legault. "You cannot say 'I agree that Quebec is a distinct nation,' but it has no consequences. This nation is formed especially around French, around some values, so it's important that these values be protected by the Quebec government."
At the same time as he made his wish list public, Legault and cabinet minister Sonia Lebel announced that the Quebec government will reopen its office in Ottawa, with an increased mandate to strengthen the province's economy.
Interim Parti Quebecois leader Pascal Berube said for a "so-called nationalist government" was not impressed.
"He's a brand new Captain Canada. He told us this morning his first goal was to be fully involved in Canada, make sure we are a great partner and after he said that – four demands, minimal services, about stuff that we already know," he said.
Interim Liberal leader Pierre Arcand said he felt Legault left a lot of money on the table.
"First of all, we were talking about the farmers who have received some money from Ottawa, but the deal is not complete, not over yet. He doesn't talk about it," he said. "He doesn't talk about taxation for what we call the 'web giants.' This is something he completely forgot."
Arcand said Legault also forgot to ask for investment in collective transportation.
"The fact that Ottawa should continue to support that for the environment, he doesn't talk about it," he said.
Campaigning in Ottawa, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he isn't in agreement with Quebec's values test for new arrivals, adding that if he were prime minister he would not allow Quebec to implement a one-tax plan as it would mean that thousands of federal civil servants in Quebec would lose their jobs.
The main leaders have said they would stay away from Quebec's new secularism law, though Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said he wouldn't rule out intervening "someday."