Politicians wrap up in Quebec City, prepare for summer of campaigning
Published Friday, June 15, 2018 2:27PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, June 15, 2018 7:14PM EDT
All official business in the National Assembly wrapped up on Friday until October, when Quebecers will head to the ballot box and choose a new government.
According to opinion polls citizens are eager for change after being led by a Liberal government for most of the past 15 years.
To cope with that Premier Philippe Couillard -- who has only led the province since 2014 -- is highlighting his party's economic record and the great state of the economy in Quebec.
"We can be very proud of the path we've taken together," said Couillard, pointing to the reduced debt levels, the province's improved credit rating, and the low unemployment rate.
Almost 250,000 jobs have been created in the province since 2014 and unemployment is the lowest its been in decades, he boasted.
Couillard warned, however, that all of this could come tumbling down, pointing to the trade war started by U.S. president Donald Trump.
"The allies of yesterday can represent a threat to our businesses," said Couillard, which is why he will be telling Quebecers to re-elect the Liberal party.
He is confident he will return to Quebec City in the fall at the helm of government.
"I will win the election with a majority mandate," he predicted.
Leaders will tour the province and chat with voters at backyard barbecues and summer festivals, but the real campaign will begin at the end of August, Couillard said.
"I don't think Quebecers are looking for an aggressive pre-campaign, during the summer," he said at his end-of-session news conference.
You know an election is coming when the premier is grilling hot dogs for photo ops. (@francoislegault was BBQing for the cameras too this afternoon.) Quebec voters, get ready for a long summer of campaigning! #assnat #polqc #QC2018 pic.twitter.com/5fEW0zAunW— Maya Johnson (@MJohnsonCTV) June 15, 2018
Meanwhile Francois Legault is now considered by opinion polls to be the man Quebecers most want to have as leader.
On Friday the CAQ founder said the province is ready for change, and "in three and a half months we can turn the page on 15 years of Liberal government."
Legault said he anticipated that he would be under attack this summer, and said he would be ready to respond.
"I don't want to be naive. I will need maybe to answer those negative attacks of Philippe Couillard," said Legault.
Couillard, for his part, said that Legault has spent the past four years being negative, and should not pretend otherwise.
"Has Francois Legault taken the high road during the last four years? Come on! Come on! He's dragged people in the mud month after month after month. Is this the high road? This is not credible. I'm sorry, this is not credible," said Couillard.
Last day for many
Many MNAs have decided not to return in October, in part due to a change in how they are paid severance should they not finish their term.
On Friday Speaker Jacques Chagnon, the MNA for Westmount Saint Louis, announced that he would be joining the group of retirees.
"For the last 33 years, I have tried to improve the quality of life of people in downtown Montreal and the City of Westmount by representing and working for them on all levels. I think I have succeeded in many ways," said Chagnon.
In all more than two dozen MNAs will not be returning to the National Assembly.