The Prime Minister Francois Legault sees his government as a bulwark against radical elements in society, including all those who oppose health measures and COVID-19 vaccination.
In a speech with strong nationalist content delivered Sunday morning in front of the youth wing of his party, gathered in congress in Quebec all weekend, Mr. Legault recalled the importance, in times of pandemic, of avoiding divisions and to demonstrate social cohesion.
After his speech, during which he did not allude to the crisis that is currently shaking several hospital emergencies, forced to close their doors for lack of personnel, he answered the questions of some young Caquists, but he refused, both before and after the event, to speak to representatives of the media covering the congress.
The day before, also present at the congress of young caquists to deliver a speech, the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, had done the same, avoiding any question from the journalists present.
“This is not the time in Quebec to divide. It is time to defend our social cohesion, ”said the Prime Minister during his speech, after taking his place in the nave of the old church in lower-town Quebec where the young activists had come to hear him.
“We at the CAQ are people who are like a bulwark against the radicals. We are a bulwark for our national cohesion ”, commented the head of the Quebec Future Coalition (CAQ), in front of the changing party.
As he has done on numerous occasions in recent weeks, notably during the last caucus of his party, then in the House on the occasion of the return to Parliament, he stressed to the young members of the party that if the population had voted for the CAQ in 2018 was to support “a nationalist party”, it was “to defend our language, our values, our powers”.
It made no secret of the fact that the CAQ would position itself as “the” nationalist party, during the next election campaign in 2022, or “the party in Quebec which stands up for our nation”.
On the eve of the federal elections, the Prime Minister reaffirmed that political parties “boasted of intervening in a really important area of jurisdiction, health, which is nevertheless a responsibility of Quebec”.
Alluding to his repeated demands for a substantial increase in federal health transfers to be paid to the provinces, he once again denounced the will “of certain parties” to want to give Quebec “a little money, in the crumbs. And impose their conditions. Quebec has been demanding, until now without success, that the share of federal health funding be reduced from 22% to 35% of the bill.
The federal government must contribute to health, reaffirmed Mr. Legault, who is asking for an additional $ 6 billion annually from Ottawa to meet the needs. Because what Quebec needs, “it is not in Ottawa more civil servants, but in Quebec more nurses”, he commented.
It is estimated that there are currently more than 4,300 nurses lacking to keep the network functioning normally. The government must also table in the coming days a plan to recall retired nurses and those transferred to the private sector to the public network.
In response to a question from a young Caquist, Mr. Legault said he had no intention of telling people who to vote for on Monday. But as he has done a few times in recent weeks, he asked the young Caquists to “take into account” the fact that three parties “want to interfere in our competences”, to limit the powers of Quebec by immigration and do not rule out the idea of challenging Law 21 on the secularism of the State. These three parties are the Liberal Party of Canada, the NDP and the Green Party.
The young Caquistes organized their congress around the theme of pride in being Quebecers. The resolutions studied over the weekend were all adopted without much debate.
They have positioned themselves in particular in favor of the creation of a museum of national history of Quebec and the enhancement of heritage buildings, for the development of a common curriculum of Quebec literary works to be studied at school, for more mental health services for young people, as well as better treatment of municipal wastewater.
Without making a firm commitment regarding the content of the next CAQ electoral platform, the Prime Minister was in favor of the suggestions of his youth wing.