WEEK 5: CAQ REGAINS STEAM AS CAMPAIGN WINDS DOWN
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
  • Legault turns things around with strong performance in final debate

  • Minority government looking increasingly likely

  • Lisée risks falling to fourth place as gap narrows between PQ and QS

  • Liberals still far behind in key francophone vote
The party leaders at the TVA debate last week
ANALYSIS
With less than a week to go ‘til Election Day, uncertainty reigns. But there are signs that after a pronounced dip in support, the CAQ has stabilized and is in for a strong finish.

Mainstreet’s September 24 poll shows the CAQ in first place at 30.6%, with the Liberals close behind at 28.4%. Meanwhile, the PQ and QS are at 19.6% and 17.9% respectively, a huge upset for the PQ and a rallying cry for Marxists. The Liberals continue to trail badly in the francophone vote, with 18.1% dead last of the four major parties.
 
Poll aggregator Philippe Fournier projects that a CAQ minority government is 66.1% likely (23% for a majority), while the Liberals have a 32.1% chance at a minority government (with a measly 0.2% chance at a majority).
 
CAQ leader François Legault is back in the lead after a rough fourth week, following criticism of his immigration proposals to enforce French language and values tests on immigrants. Incumbent Premier and Liberal leader Philippe Couillard’s comments regarding the feasibility of families surviving off $75 groceries per week and his bizarre attempt to justify his position have led him to fall back to second place.

Following inspiring performances in the first two debates and efforts to court rural communities, PQ leader Jean-François Lisée was up to nearly 24% last week. A disappointing performance in TVA’s Face à Face debate, however, now has him down almost six points. Manon Massé, leader of QS, remains the underdog, with continued support amongst the youth, averaging 30% in the daily Mainstreet Poll.
 
The TVA debate on September 20 gave the candidates a final opportunity to sell their platforms. They discussed their positions on health care, seniors, education, immigration, and the economy. Legault remained strong on immigration, admitting to his past errors but not backtracking on his promises. He told Couillard to stop making an issue out of immigration, because what really matters to taxpayers is the economy. Couillard redirected his focus on touting his government’s economic record.

In a display of unity, the party leaders touched down on tornado-stricken Gatineau over the weekend. Couillard pledged his support while Legault and Lisée focused on solidarity amongst the people of Gatineau. Massé applauded the response efforts of the authorities and re-affirmed her strong position on the impacts of climate change. This is not the first time the party leaders come together. Earlier this month, the leaders held a meeting in support of Canada's supply management system, which imposes production quotas on Quebec dairy farmers.
 
Despite his recent rough patch, Legault has continued to stay on message, focusing on his economic strengths. On a day when the Mainstreet Poll had him down to second place, his team of star economic candidates stood behind him and re-affirmed their confidence in Legault’s ability to take care of Quebec's families and grow the province’s economy. He spent the week making additional announcements, including increasing funding for Alzheimer’s research by $5 million a year and promising to widen highway 30 between highways 10 in Brossard and 20 in Boucherville.

Couillard’s ray of light midway into the fourth week was overshadowed by Legault’s bounce back and the PLQ leader’s comments about the feasibility of $75 groceries. His promises over the week included plans to collect taxes on all digital transactions and look for more workers amongst the Indigenous population to fill labour shortages.

In attempts to strengthen their bases, Lisée and Massé made a number of commitments throughout the week. Lisée promised to create a “Made in Quebec” label intended to encourage consumers to buy local goods and in efforts to modernize the province. Moving ahead quickly in the polls, Massé committed $210 million for measures to facilitate the integration of immigrants, including French language lessons. She promised to replace the current federal Tax-Free Savings Account program with a tax-free program focused on sustainable housing.

Quebecers go to the polls on October 1st.

KEY PLATFORM COMMITMENTS ANNOUNCED THUS FAR

CAQ/Legault

  • Cut $1.2 billion in spending in first term.
  • An economic plan with key commitments including an investment of $1 billion in education and health care and putting $1.7 billion back into the pockets of taxpayers.
  • Establish an ‘economic squad’, that will help boost entrepreneurship.
  • Commit $1.2 billion per year to renovate Quebec’s beautiful schools.
  • Implement single school tax across the province, to save the province $700 million.
  • Commit $16 million for school textbooks and outings and $5 million for school libraries.
  • Commit $31 million to cover the first cycle of in vitro fertilization.
  • "Baby Bonus": an extra $1,200 per child for families that have a combined income of $107,000 or less.
  • Systematically screen all babies for neurodevelopmental disorders.
  • Create 50,000 additional public childcare spaces.
  • Commit $93 million to caregivers by doubling their tax credit.
  • Reduce the time it takes to see a family doctor, or another medical specialist to 36 hours for non-emergency patients, by restructuring the way doctors are paid.
  • Commit $36 million for the reimbursement of eyeglasses or contact lenses for minors under 18 years, up to a maximum of $250 every two years.
  • Commit $22 million to boost a government aid program for parents of severely disabled children.
  • Replace the dreaded CHSLD (nursing home system) with a new Seniors Home system to improve care and reduce wait times.
  • Commit $200 million per year for 4 years to improve home care and help seniors stay in their homes longer.
  • Increase funding for Alzheimer’s research by $5 million a year and hosting public consultations on advanced consent for medically assisted deaths, for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and related diseases.
  • Adopt a ‘secularism charter within the first year that would prohibit state employees such as teachers, judges and police officers from wearing conspicuous religious symbols at work.
  • Give immigrants 3 years to learn the French language and offer free programs for them to do so.
  • Commit to a 20% immigration cut in each category of people arriving in 2019.
  • Commit $400 million for province-wide internet and cell phone access.
  • Commit to beginning construction on a 3rd Quebec City-Lévis road by 2020.
  • Widen Highway 30 between Highways 10, in Brossard, and 20, in Boucherville, by the fall of 2022.
  • Commit $26 billion on the Island of Montreal’s east end to revitalize Boulevard Notre Dame, build a tramway, and build an “innovation zone”.
  • Increase funding to preserve and restore the province’s aging and often under-utilized churches to $20 million. Commit another $5 million to aiding in their conversion for other purposes.
  • Commit $12 million over 4 years in a local purchase plan.
  • Moving 5,000 public sector jobs to the regions.
  • Disapprove any appointment to the public service made by the outgoing Prime Minister.
 
PLQ/Couillard
 
  • Commit to $150-$300 tax credit extra per child, according to family income.
  • Collect taxes on all digital transaction.Regulate the shared economy.
  • Commit $2 billion for education: free educational services for 4-year-olds enrolled in pre-kindergarten programs at schools and at government-run daycares (CPEs); and more intensive English lessons early on.
  • Commit an additional $400 million for school renovations.
  • Increase the starting salaries of teachers to $53,134 a year, starting in 2021-2022.
  • Abolish tuition fees for all students enrolled in part-time technical training leading to a college diploma.
  • Commit $9.5 million in educational funding for cultural field trips.
  • Commit an additional $14 million a year to health care, providing two health insurance cards to every child, adding video consultations with doctors and 25 new super clinics.
  • Reaffirm commitment to allow patients within the public system waiting for surgery to be operated by private surgeons, paid by the state.
  • Ensure 90% of Quebecers have access to a family doctor by 2022.
  • Provide free dental care to teenagers and seniors.
  • Commit an additional $70 million for handicapped children.Commit to a maximum of $7 a day for hospital parking.
  • Create 1500 new spaces in CHSLD between 2018 and 2022.
  • Commit $153 million per year for tax credits for seniors.
  • Commit $2400 in tax credits for families that need to adapt their homes to accommodate the elderly.
  • Accept 50,000 to 54, 500 immigrants per year.
  • Commit faster internet for all Quebecers by 2020.
  • Commit $200 million per year for free public transport for students and seniors 65+.
  • Commit to an additional $1,000 for the purchase of an electric car.
  • Commit to beginning construction on a 3rd Quebec City-Lévis road by 2026, claiming it is a more realistic timeframe. 
  • Commit to investing $350 million for the expansion of the Palais des Congrès in Montreal.
  • Meet with Indigenous communities much more often and much sooner than 100 days into the mandate.
  • Commit to look for more workers amongst the Indigenous population to fill labour shortages.
  • Protect the family farm by revising financial aid to ensure younger generations can continue in agriculture.
  • Impose a purchase limit of 100 hectares of agricultural land per year.
  • Commit to decentralization of the forestry, natural resources, and agricultural/fishing ministries to allow resource decisions to be made in the regions.
  • Commit to $45 million in 5 years to protect the environment and committed to a ban on plastic straws.
  • Increase taxation powers for municipalities. 
  • Commit $10 million over 5 years to municipalities for better planification of economic immigration and to fill labour shortages.

PQ/ Lisée
 
  • Raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2022.
  • Demand Quebec’s faire share of federal investments, a shortfall he pinned at $2.6 billion per year.
  • End subsidies to Air Canada customers.
  • Limit the salaries of Crown corporation executives to a maximum of $250,000 per year, except for the head of the CDPQ.
  • Create a Ministry of Youth to oversee child care and the education system.
  • Create 21,000 new child care spaces by 2022.
  • Provide free school supplies to elementary and secondary school students.
  • Commit to having students in CEGEP take a French proficiency course before they graduate.
  • Increase parental leave to give more time to parents, including adoptive parents.
  • Increase the number of people working from home by 200, 000 by 2025 and offer a tax credit for those choosing to do so.
  • Commit $31 million to cover the first cycle of in vitro fertilization.
  • Commit to a $30-million autism assistance plan to help fast-track diagnoses and get families quicker access to services.
  • Commit $200 million for CHSLD renovations.
  • Commit an additional $34 million to the current Quebec Cultural Plan starting in 2022. Plan to include re-visiting Kanata cancellation and capping book discounts to protect small bookstores.
  • Create a government mobile app to encourage carpooling and reduce congestion.
  • Commit $7.4 billion on ‘le grand déblocage’, which calls for extensions of nearly all existing commuter train lines to the outer reaches of the Montreal region.
  • Target 5% of vehicle sales to be electric or hybrid by 2025, 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2035.
  • Put an end to the fax machine.
  • Allow people to grow two marijuana plants at home.
  • Commit to ensuring 50% of food in public cafeterias is local.
  • Commit to investing $240 million in a partnership with Quebec’s largest internet service providers and Hydro-Québec.
  • Meet with the leaders of all First Nations in the first 100 days of the mandate.
  • Reduce the cost of hunting and fishing licences and encourage the practice among youth.
  • Increase regional power.
  • Move Ministries of Fishing, Wildlife, Mines, Forests, and Agriculture to other regions from Quebec City.
  • Create a Consumer Protect Office that would keep a control on high gas prices.
  • Create a “Made in Quebec” label intended to encourage consumers to buy local goods.


QS/Massé
 
  • Raise minimum wage to $15 by 2019.
  • Commit no tax increase on income under $97,000.
  • Adopt a new tax system to raise taxes for the rich.
  • End private school subsidies.
  • Provide free education from daycare to PhD level.
  • Commit $2 billion to rebuild the Quebec school system by reducing the number of students in a class, hiring more support staff and renovating public schools in the province.
  • Invest 980 million to allow Local Communities Services Centres (CLSCs) to remain open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Provide free universal dental care, covering free care for children and up to 80% for adults, costing $950 a year.
  • Allow dental hygienists to work without the supervision of a dentist.
  • Renegotiate with medical specialists to reduce their pay by 12%.
  • Create a public fibre-optic network to ensure fast internet connection for all regions of the province.
  • Reduce public transit rates by 50% across the province.
  • Commit $25 billion from now until 2030, to add 38 new metro stations, including the Pink Line and an extension of the Yellow Line on the south shore.
  • Commit $2 billion on a public bus service connecting smaller cities to Montreal and buy the assets of the companies that run the routes.
  • Commit $47 million in cultural programs for youth, which would include a digital platform developed by Télé Québec.
  • Develop a national policy on locally crafted alcohol to support regional producers. 
  • Develop a national market for the wood industry.
  • Meet with the leaders of all First Nations in the first 100 days of the mandate.
  • Use the current Generations Fund to support green infrastructure.
  • Ban the sale of gas-powered cars by 2030.
  • Protect 10% of the marine environment by 2020.
  • Move away from hydrocarbons, to create 300,000 green jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Quebec by 48% by 2030.
  • Commit $560 million over the next four years on a sovereignty project, including a “Constituent Assembly”, which would cost $140 million a year.
  • Commit $210 million for measures to facilitate the integration of immigrants, including French language lessons.
  • Replace the current federal Tax-Free Savings Account program with a tax-free program focused on sustainable housing.
  • Repeal Article 1 of Bill 176, which deprives young athletes at school of the protection of labour standards.
  • Invest $30 million per year over 3 years to help cultural and artistic organisations in the regions.
  • Review the way in which police officers are appointed, in addition to creating a position of civilian co-commissioner at Permanent Anti-Corruption Unit (UPAC).
 
As always, HATLEY will keep you posted on the most important developments throughout the entirety of the campaign with the HATLEY Report.

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