He says the Liberals are better prepared to manage the province's economy than their fledgling rivals.
Charest told a campaign event in Victoriaville that if re-elected he would use mining royalties from his much-touted northern development plan to help pay down the debt.
For its part, the Coalition for Quebec's Future says it wants to take over some environmental responsibilities from the federal government and, at the same time, ban the export of asbestos.
Party leader Francois Legault says he would work to find alternative jobs for those hoping to work at Quebec's Jeffrey asbestos mine, which recently received a loan from the Charest government to reopen.
Recent opinion polls suggest Legault's party is gaining support but is still behind the Liberals and the leading Parti Quebecois.
Meanwhile, the Parti Quebecois focused on health care during its day of campaigning.
Leader Pauline Marois says her party would increase access to family doctors if elected to power.
Charest's announcement was at the same hotel in Victoriaville where student protesters clashed with police in May while a Liberal Party gathering took place inside. Police used tear gas and fired rubber bullets in what was one of the more violent altercations during the months-long student conflict.
On Saturday, there were only a handful of protesters outside the building amid heavy police presence.
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