Erin O’Toole will play the nationalist card to the fullest to conquer the hearts and especially the vote of Quebecers on September 20. He says he wants to give Quebec more powers and he was in a hurry, Wednesday, to take action.

Also, if he forms the next government, the Conservative leader undertakes to follow through on the “contract” he wants to sign with Quebeckers, during the first 100 days of his governance. And this contract has everything to become music to the ears of the Prime Minister Francois Legault.

This contract, based on a model of decentralized federalism, a “federalism of partnership”, provides for a certain devolution of powers in Quebec, modeled on the traditional demands formulated over the years by the various governments which have succeeded in Quebec.

“We will always be open to giving additional powers” to Quebec, declared the Conservative leader, surrounded by his deputies and candidates from the region, Wednesday, at the end of the day, during a speech at the Quebec airport, a city that has become usually fertile ground for conservatives.

His speech was reminiscent of that of one of his predecessors, Stephen Harper, who created a stir in Quebec City in 2006 by pledging that the House of Commons officially recognize the Quebec nation.

This time, Mr. O’Toole wants to go further, without however venturing into constitutional ground.

If he becomes Prime Minister, he therefore undertakes to grant more powers to Quebec by immigration, because it is up to him to decide “who can come to his territory”.

Under a Conservative government, federally chartered companies located in Quebec will have to be subject to Bill 101.

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“Unlike Justin trudeau, a Conservative government will never question Quebec’s right to pass its own laws to protect its language or culture, ”he said.

Another traditional request from Quebec that would be well received: the single income tax return, administered by the government of Quebec.

On the issue of federal health transfers, he undertakes that they will be “predictable, stable and unconditional”, but he makes no commitment as to their size and the amounts involved. Quebec is demanding that the federal contribution to health financing be increased from 22 to 35%, which would add some $ 6 billion annually to Quebec coffers.

Voters should soon receive by mail a copy of the “contract” the Conservative leader wants to conclude with the people of Quebec.

Mr. O’Toole spent the whole day in Quebec on Wednesday. Earlier in the morning, he emphasized his promise of anti-corruption law, pledging to tighten federal laws.

He also reiterated his promise to cancel the national child care program, thus depriving Quebec of a payment of $ 6 billion over five years. Mr. O’Toole maintained that his tax credit will help all families in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada.

Against compulsory vaccination

Mr. O’Toole also had to comment on the decision of Ontario Conservative Premier Doug Ford to exclude from his caucus any MP who is not vaccinated. Unlike the Liberals, the Bloc and the NDP, who demand that their candidates be fully immunized before knocking on voters’ doors, the federal Conservatives are not making it an absolute rule.

The Conservative leader reiterated his belief in a “reasonable” and “balanced” approach that protects Canadians while respecting their ability to make personal health decisions.

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“I encourage all Quebecers, all Canadians (to) be vaccinated, including my candidates, my deputies […] but I will respect personal decisions about health, ”replied Mr. O’Toole on Wednesday. He therefore accepts the compromise that candidates who choose not to be vaccinated get tested daily with rapid test kits.

Although Tory candidates have been briefed on their leader’s health expectations, it is unclear whether the party is making sure those who aren’t vaccinated actually get tested every day.

Mr. O’Toole arrived in Quebec on Tuesday evening after attending his first in-person rally with Conservative supporters in Richmond Hill, in the GTA, where the party hopes to make gains. He was also due to meet supporters at the end of the afternoon in Quebec, in the riding of Louis-Hébert, represented by the liberal Joël Lightbound, who is again a candidate.

Of the 10 seats held by the Conservatives in Quebec, several are found in the national capital region. The Bloc has a few in their sights, while Erin O’Toole is hoping to keep them.

In the most recent Léger poll, the Conservatives won only a meager 15% in the province, far behind the 37% of the Liberals and the 30% of the Bloc.

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