The Coalition Avenir Quebec spent part of its weekend conference making appeals to Anglophone voters who are weary of the Liberals but on Tuesday Premier Philippe Couillard defended his record, saying he can do more for English speakers than Francois Legault.

Couillard made light of Legault’s appeal for Anglos to “free themselves” of the Liberals.

“Free Quebecers of what? Four consecutive balanced budgets? $2 billion less of payment of interest on our debt that goes to hospitals and schools rather than bankers abroad?” he said. “One million plus people having found a family doctor?”

Minister Responsible for English-Speaking Quebecers Kathleen Weil said Legault is out of touch.

“On the values front, on the economic front, on the institutional front, there’s a disconnect between the CAQ and the English-speaking community,” she said. “So what he said, ‘Free yourself of the Liberal Party,’ just doesn’t make sense.”

Parti Quebecois leader Jean-Francois Lisee made his own appeal to Anglos, saying he and Legault have found common ground on the topic.

“Do I agree with Francois Legault? I not only agree, he stole my lines,” he said. “It’s exactly the lines I used in the convention last September. I said ‘Free yourselves from the Liberals,’ and I said, ‘Furthermore, with the Parti Quebecois, the English-speaking vote will never be taken for granted, ever.’”

Lisee has vowed not to hold a referendum on Quebec sovereignty during his first term as premier, saying the priority will be showing the party can govern. With a referendum off the table, he said voters who traditionally support the Liberals should feel free to find other options.

“This election is not about independence,” he said. “We’re going to have another election about that, the next one. This election, you can decide, whether you’re Francophone or Allophone or Anglophone, do you want a clean, green government that believes in public service? That’s the Parti Quebecois.”

However, Weil says Liberal voters have never been trapped with the party.

“I think it’s very misleading to say that they need to liberate themselves from a party that’s always had, at the heart of their concerns, the welfare and the well-being of the English community and its institutions,” she said.

The latest Leger poll shows a strong majority of non-Francophone voters behind the Liberals with 66 per cent support, followed by 13 per cent for the CAQ and five per cent for the PQ.