François Legault reaching out to the Anglo community in strong Liberal riding
PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG
CAQ leader François Legault (right) passed by the office of Your Local Journal last week to speak with editor Carmen Marie Fabio (left) and publisher Monique Bissonnette to pitch his party’s platform to the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region.
Though he unveiled his new political party in French only in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue six years ago, François Legault is now looking to connect with the Anglophone community to discuss his Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) party platform on issues including education, immigration, and why he’s not interested in Quebec separation.
“I started the CAQ to offer an alternative,” Legault said as he passed by the office of Your Local Journal last week. “Especially for people who are not for the sovereignty of Quebec. I used to be sovereigntist – I’m not anymore. I would like to see the first election in the last 45 years where the valid question won’t be, ‘Am I sovereigntist or not?’ I would like for the two priorities to be economy and education.”
Legault said the CAQ wants complete control in who immigrates to Quebec as opposed to their current law that says the province has say in 70 per cent of newcomers while the remaining 30 is dictated at the federal level.
“It’s not only a question of language; it’s a question of values.” Legault elaborated, saying immigrants will always be welcome here but they must accept our values, specifying equality between men and women. “Those who don’t believe in equality between men and women must not be welcome in Quebec.” Legault said with 50,000 immigrants arriving annually, the concept of equal value between the genders is a message that must be sent.
Reached in Quebec City, Soulanges Liberal MNA Lucie Charlebois had a different view, pointing out the large immigrant community in the region. “I don’t feel like I’m living in a strange land,” she said. “Yes immigrants must have Quebec values and must contribute to Quebec society. That concept has existed since Jean Charest was premier.”
The historic stronghold of Liberal votes in our region was questioned by Legault. “If the CAQ wasn’t there, the Liberal Party would be in power forever.” He said the Anglophone votes, and the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region is taken for granted by the Liberal Party.
“There are both Anglophones and Francophones in the Soulanges region and they’re the ones who elected me,” said Charlebois. “I don’t take any vote for granted and I never will. I meet citizens on a regular basis and I am always in my riding every weekend. I meet the media too, but I’m the type of person who goes to the people to hear what they have to say. Maybe Mr. Legault should be doing that in his own riding.”
Legault said significant differences lie between the long-discussed logistical hubs in Vaudreuil-Soulanges and Contrecoeur and while the latter is well positioned for shipping by water, Vaudreuil-Soulanges – with three major highways and two railways – is better suited. He says that area MNAs Lucie Charlebois and Marie-Claude Nichols are not strongly advocating for the logistical hub as they assume the region will continue to support the Liberal Party in the next election.
“As for the logistical hub, we’re still working on Bill 85. It’s been deposited and now we have to study it,” countered Charlebois. “If Mr. Legault had followed the work we’ve been doing in the National Assembly, he’d know that.”