Quebec’s CAQ leader faces questions on environment, economy
The premier suggested Quebec solidaire's ideas would shutter manufacturing companies, impoverish Quebecers and massively increase the province's debt.
Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault faced a four-way attack on the environment, the cost of living and the decline of French in Sep. 22’s leaders debate, but he seemed to focus his counterattacks on one opponent: Quebec solidaire’s Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.
Four major parties are locked in a fight for second place, trailing far behind the incumbent CAQ in the polls, and Legault on several occasions zeroed in on the left-wing party seeking to replace the Liberals as the official Opposition.
In one exchange, the premier said Nadeau-Dubois’ plans to combat climate change — which include high taxes on certain types of cars and billions of borrowed dollars for public transport projects — aren’t realistic.
“I get the impression that it’s kind of like magic, kind of as if you are in wonderland,” Legault said.
Nadeau-Dubois shot back: “Stop scaring people; you should be inspiring Quebecers, proposing solutions.”
Quebec aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 37.5 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, but the province missed its 20 per cent reduction target set for 2020 and instead reached just six per cent.
Legault has said reaching the 2030 targets isn’t possible without a new hydroelectric dam, and he has suggested the four other parties’ plans aren’t achievable. The Liberal Party of Quebec, meanwhile, is proposing a 45 per cent reduction target over that same period; Quebec solidaire is aiming for 55 per cent.
During the section on cost of living, Legault once again took aim at Nadeau-Dubois, bringing up comments the Quebec solidaire spokesman made about “decreasing the growth” of certain sectors of the economy.
“Which sectors are you talking about?” Legault asked.
Nadeau-Dubois didn’t directly address the question but talked about how demand will soon decrease for fossil fuels, which he said would affect companies such as oil refineries.
Legault cut him off, “and what about the manufacturing industry?” The premier suggested Quebec solidaire’s ideas would shutter companies, impoverish Quebecers and massively increase the province’s debt.
Legault has said he wants to cap immigration at 50,000, while the Liberals and Quebec solidaire are proposing to raise the cap to 70,000 and up to 80,000, respectively. The PQ, meanwhile, wants to bring it down to 35,000.
While Legault’s attacks were most frequently directed at Nadeau-Dubois, the premier focused on Conservative Party of Quebec Leader Eric Duhaime regarding mental health. The premier said Duhaime, whose party has gained support through its opposition to COVID-19 measures, was irresponsible.