Francois Legault unveiled his vision for Quebec on Sunday and it boiled down to longer hours for high school students, high-speed Internet connections everywhere in Quebec and an appeal to Anglophones to turn away from the Liberals.
Addressing the Coalition Avenir Quebec delegates gathered for the weekend convention in Sherbrooke, Legault twice spoke in English. He promised an end to concerns over sovereignty should he be made premier in next October’s election.
“All Quebecers have a choice, a real choice,” he said. “No more elections purely based around the referendum question. For the first time in a long time, you will really be free to vote for a vision, for a party that works for you and your family.”
In the second-to-last paragraph of the speech, Legault again addressed Anglophone voters.
“Quebecers need change,” he said. “In less than one year, we will give them change.”
Elsewhere in the speech, Legault turned back to the convention’s theme of family, promising strengthen Quebec’s families by making high school hours 9 to 5.
“With the extra hour, children will have more sporting activities, more artistic activities and better homework help,” he said. “It will save time and money for parents.”
Along with longer hours, Legault also promised to make pre-school available to all the province’s children.
“In Quebec, only five per cent of children have access to pre-school at four-years-old. With a CAQ government, all children will have access, and all children with learning difficulties will have access to specializes services throughout their school career.
Addressing media after his speech, Legault said he has addressed the proposal with the province’s teachers unions.
“I think it’s been a good response,” he said “Right now you have that in Ontario, starting school at four-years-old. You have that in 20 states in the U.S. You have that in many countries in Europe. Right now, in Quebec, the drop-out rate is double the one in Ontario.”
Legault also made an appeal to Montreal, where the party currently holds no seats.
“We have an economic challenge. When you look at the private investment in Montreal, Montreal isn’t playing its role as economic metropolis of Quebec,” he said. “We still have some work to do also in Montreal. My priority is really around the economy so we have to create good, better paying jobs also in Montreal.”
As for development in the province's regions, Legault vowed to have high-speed Internet available everywhere in the province, though didn't give a timeline for his vision.
MNA Simon Jolin-Barrette said the CAQ’s key message going forward into the election will be to tell Quebecers an alternative to the Liberals has finally arrived.
“The Liberal Party has been place for the last 15 years and right now we need some change. We need some integrity and that’s what CAQ is going to present to Quebec.”