Premier François Legault said he believed prosperity and pride were top priorities for Quebecers at the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) convention that brought together more than 1,000 party members in Drummondville, Que. Saturday.
So much so that the official theme of the annual weekend-long convention is just that – pride.
“This is what differentiates us from the old (political) parties,” said Deputy Premier and Minister of Public Security Geneviève Guilbault. “We are not afraid to say that pride is as important as anything else here in Quebec.
The conference is the last opportunity for the political party to discuss policy and prepare its platform before the upcoming provincial election in the fall.
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The event comes just days after the Legault government passed its controversial new French Charter legislation, Bill 96, aimed at further protecting and strengthening the language by imposing stricter French language requirements in the province. including in the education and business sectors – a decision that English-speaking, Allophone and Indigenous communities have protested, saying the legislation goes too far.
The event was greeted by a heavy police presence as well as protesters.
People have come forward to express their frustration with the various policies put in place by the CAQ government in recent years. The crowd was made up of government officials, anti-Bill 96 protesters, housing advocates and those opposing the province’s health measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Critics, including Quebec solidaire, pointed out that a few key topics were missing from the agenda for this weekend’s political discussion: the environment and health.
For Deputy Premier Guilbault, the party has tackled these “different subjects over the years, but today it is important to discuss the pride of being Quebecers”.
Premier Legault will deliver closing remarks on Sunday.
–with files from Olivia O’Malley, Global News