Liberal leader Philippe Couillard spent much of Sunday working to convince residents in the riding of Roberval to cast their votes for him in the provincial election on April 7.
The riding of Roberval in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region is currently represented by Denis Trottier of the Parti Québécois and it’s believed Couillard is in for a tough fight to dislodge the incumbent MNA.
Trottier has represented Roberval since 2007.
Speaking from the workshop floor of a company in Dolbeau-Mistassini, Couillard said he’s confident the people of Roberval will respond to his emphasis on “real issues,” which he repeatedly listed as the economy, jobs, education and healthcare.
“People are tired of referendums and division. I’m in this for jobs, for families,” he said.
Couillard emphasized natural resource development in the region and singled out gas, oil and mining as sectors that would benefit under his watch.
He pledged a variety of economic incentives meant to encourage sustainable development in each sector.
He also said local communities would benefit directly from resource development through a “sharing formula” that would funnel dividends directly to them and not Quebec City.
When pressed by reporters, however, Couillard would not specify what percentage of revenues communities might expect from such a deal. He insisted that any arrangements would have to be negotiated with individual regions and communities.
He also pledged provincial assistance for the region’s forestry sector and the Arianne Phosphate mine north of Saguenay.
He accused the PQ government of taking a “hostile” attitude toward the natural resource industry and ignoring their needs in favour of issues like secularism and independence for Quebec.
Couillard currently represents the Montreal riding of Outremont in the National Assembly, a seat he won in a byelection held last December.
The Montreal native, however, now calls Roberval home and wants to represent it come April 7.
"It's an important battle, I will win that battle because I know how to work hard. I've worked hard all my life. I will defend my ideas here, I will defend the Liberal principles here, which are first and foremost the importance of economic development that allows us to do everything else," he said.