Quebec Opposition Leader Pierre Karl Peladeau questions the government. (Photo: Jacques Boissinot/CP)It is in other areas such as education and health where Peladeau, 54, will have to show Quebecers he truly cares at a time when both sectors are financially strapped and constantly under the threat of government cutbacks.
"I entered politics 18 months ago and became PQ leader six months ago, so I still have things to learn."The PQ is short on specifics, however, Montigny says. "We felt there was a willingness to extend a hand (to anglophones and other minorities)," he said. "But there has to be more than just words. We haven't seen any concrete gestures." Peladeau has stated he won't shy away from discussing sovereignty, even though opinion polls repeatedly suggest that support for the option is stagnant. "We are going to continue to work in order to protect the interests of Quebecers and to show that Quebec independence is a political option that is more than viable — it is desirable so that we can become richer," he said. Quebec's third-placed party, the Coalition for Quebec's Future, is also hoping to make gains in 2016. Sensing what he believes is a shift in the electorate away from sovereignty, leader Francois Legault has promised Quebecers a new "Quebec nationalism" with which federalists and sovereigntists alike can be comfortable. Legault says Quebec should embark on large-scale economic projects — partly funded by the government — in certain area like aeronautics and other manufacturing-based industries in order to create jobs and wealth and to stop receiving equalization payments from rich provinces. Only then, he said, can Quebec find itself in a strong position to negotiate with Canada for more powers, specifically over immigration, language and culture. "Quebec can no longer be less rich than its neighbours," Legault said. "It has to have the means to achieve its ambitions." Meanwhile, Premier Philippe Couillard's Liberals ended the year winning three out of four byelections and have 71 of the 125 seats in the legislature. "Clearly the government is doing well by reaching and talking to its supporters," Montigny said.
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