Where Quebec's parties stand on the issues that matter most to you

Which party is offering tax cuts? Who will let police officers wear the hijab? Who promised free daycare? We've got your definitive election guide right here.

Here's a guide to some of the promises province's main parties have made

From left to right: Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard, Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée, CAQ Leader François Legault, and Québec Solidaire spokesperson Manon Massé. (Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Quebec's provincial election campaign is nearing its end.

It's time to make up your mind.

Here's an overview of where Quebec's main parties stand on some of the most talked-about issues leading up to Oct. 1.


The Liberals

  • Have tabled five budgets since taking power in 2014; four of them have been balanced. They are promising four more balanced budgets, "prudent" spending and a commitment to paying down the debt. 
  • Plan to spend $440 million over the next five years encouraging entrepreneurship in the province.

Coalition Avenir Québec

  • Want to reduce the tax burden of Quebecers and further harmonize school taxes across the province, a tax cut valued at $700 million.
  • Create a Quebec version of Silicon Valley, which they've dubbed "The Saint-Laurent Project." It envisions turning the St. Lawrence Valley into a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship, with the collaboration of universities. 

The Parti Québécois

  • Advocates economic nationalism. They want Quebec's pension fund manager — the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec — to help prevent corporate headquarters from leaving the province.
  • Would impose a 25 per cent Quebec content requirement on all Caisse infrastructure projects.
  • Would raise minimum wage to $15/hour over the course of a four-year mandate.

​Québec Solidaire

  • Would immediately raise minimum wage to $15/hour, extend minimum vacation from two to four weeks and end forced overtime.
  • Would possibly nationalize natural resources in the province, including the mining and forestry industries.  

The Liberals:

  • Have endorsed a plan that will see Quebec accept between 49,000 and 53,000 immigrants in 2018. 
  • Have promised to spend $25 million over the next four years to provide more French lessons for immigrants and help their integration in rural communities.

The Parti Québécois

  • Believes 50,000 immigrants is too many for Quebec to accept each year. Lisée wants the auditor general to suggest a different figure and estimates 35,000 to 40,000 would be acceptable.
  • Would ensure that 25 per cent of newcomers settle in rural communities.
  • Wants immigrants to have sufficient knowledge of French and Quebec values before arriving in the province. It is not clear if this would involve additional testing.

Coalition Avenir Québec

  • Would temporarily reduce the number of immigrants Quebec accepts annually to 40,000.
  • Would make immigrants pass a values and language test to qualify for a Quebec selection certificate. Immigrants would also have to prove they have been looking for employment. Some experts have questioned the legality of that plan.

​Québec Solidaire

  • Would create a network of resource centres for immigrants, in order to provide easier access to information about jobs and French lessons, among other things.
  • Promises to streamline the recognition of foreign credentials.
  • Would provide $210 million in extra funding for French education for immigrants and would reinforce the use of French as the language of the workplace by applying the Charte de la langue française to businesses with more than 20 employees.

The Liberals

  • Passed two major health-care reforms bills aimed at centralizing administration and boosting the number of Quebecers with a family doctor.
  • As a result of the reforms, 1,400 health-care managers were laid off. In 2013-2014, 65 per cent of Quebecers had a family doctor. That number rose to 75 per cent by 2016-2017.
  • Would increase health-care spending by 4.2 per cent, slightly more than cost of inflation. 

The Parti Québécois

  • Would reopen a recently signed agreement with province's medical specialists in order to cut their pay.
  • Would increase health-care spending by 4.7 per cent.

Coalition Avenir Québec

  • Would decentralize health-care administration and allow the private-sector to supply more services while increasing spending by 4.1 per cent. 
  • Like the PQ, the CAQ has vowed to reopen and renegotiate a deal with the Quebec's medical specialists to cut their compensation by an average of $80,000 per year. The savings, however, are not included in the financial plan, indicating they aren't counting on striking a new deal.
  • Would overhaul the province's long-term care system (CHSLDs) with a new network of smaller, more "humane" homes at an initial cost of $1 billion.

Québec Solidaire

  • Has proposed a series of measures to reduce how much doctors are paid. Along with revisiting the medical specialists deal, it wants to prevent doctors from incorporating and limit fee-for-service billing.
  • Would force family medicine groups (GMFs) to register as non-profits in order to receive public funds. The party maintains the vast majority of GMFs are for-profit enterprises.

The Liberals

  • Increased education system spending by 1.2 and 0.2 per cent, respectively, in the first two years of their mandate. Experts say annual increases of between three and four per cent were necessary to keep pace with inflation. The Liberals pledge to reinvest 4.3 per cent annually over next four years.
  • Tabled a plan in 2017 to boost the high school graduation rate from 68 per cent to 85 per cent by 2030 and hired 1,500 education professionals (including 600 more teachers) last year.
  • Plan to bring assistants into kindergarten and first-grade classes, providing services such as teaching, technical assistance or support for students with special needs.

Parti Québécois

  • Has promised to gradually move toward free CEGEP and university tuition, beginning with low-income students. This measure, they estimate, will cost $400 million.
  • Would require anglophone students to do the last term of CEGEP in a French-language institution, unless test results showed they were already fluent in French.
  • Would reduce funding for English-language CEGEPs in order to offer better quality English-language instruction in French CEGEPs.
  • Would provide affordable lunches for elementary school students at a cost of $39 million, as well as  provide cheaper school supplies by having schools make bulk purchases on parents' behalf.

Coalition Avenir Québec

  • Wants to abolish school boards and replace them with service centres that would provide administrative support to schools. The party believes this would give schools greater autonomy and make the education system cheaper to run.
  • Plans to increase spending by 3.5 per cent annually.

Québec Solidaire

  • Would provide free education for everyone living in the province, from daycare through to graduate university programs, at a cost of $2.5 billion.

The Liberals

  • Would offer free educational services for four-year-olds in government-subsidized daycare and child care centres (CPEs). They estimate this will cost Quebec an additional $250 million per year.
  • Give families with children under 18 an extra $150 to $300 per child, per year, tax-free, depending on family income.

Parti Québécois

  • Promises to cancel sliding-scale pricing of subsidized daycare places. A first child would cost $8.05/day, regardless of income. Second child: $4/day. Third would be free. Daycare would also be free for families with revenue under $34,000.

Coalition Avenir Québec

  • Would do away with sliding-scale daycare pricing over a period of four years. All Quebec parents would be charged the same daily rate, regardless of their annual income. 
  • Plans to free up 50,000 spots in the daycare system by making public pre-kindergarten programs available to all four-year-olds.

Québec Solidaire

  • Proposes free daycare as part of its plan to offer free education from birth.

The Liberals

  • Passed a religious neutrality law last year (known as Bill 62). The law requires, among other things, that people show their faces when either giving or receiving public services. This provision has been suspended pending a court decision on the law's constitutionality. 
  • Couillard believes local police forces should decide whether women officers can wear the hijab.

Parti Québécois

  • Believes judges, prosecutors, prison guards and police should not be allowed to display religious symbols, therefore they could not wear a turban or a hijab. They want the same prohibition to apply to all newly hired preschool, elementary and high school teachers.

Coalition Avenir Québec

  • Opposes the wearing of religious symbols, including the hijab, by police officers and others who wield coercive state power. The party would also ban school teachers from wearing religious symbols. 
  • Would pass a "secularism charter" to reduce the scope of religious accommodations available to civil servants.

Québec Solidaire

  • Opposes the wearing of religious symbols, including the hijab, by police officers and others who hold coercive state power.
  • Believes citizens should be able to wear religious symbols and still access public services.
  • Would require one in four new public sector hires to be visible minorities until the government reaches a workforce that is made up of 13 per cent visible minorities, matching their current proportion of Quebec's population.

The Liberals

Parti Québécois

  • ​​While the party remains committed to Quebec independence, Lisée has promised not to hold a referendum on sovereignty in the first mandate of a PQ government. The earliest one would be held, he says, is 2022.

Coalition Avenir Québec

  • Calls itself nationalist. It wants more power for Quebec, but within Canada. Legault, a former PQ cabinet minister, has promised a CAQ government will never hold a referendum on Quebec sovereignty.
  • Legault wants to seek additional powers for Quebec, including control over immigration, increased fiscal capacity and a say in the nomination of Supreme Court justices. Some of these measures would require re-opening the Constitution.

Québec Solidaire

  • ​​Advocates independence. A QS government would organize elections for a constituent assembly, which would draft a constitution for an independent Quebec. That constitution would be put to a referendum.
  • Would ask the Finance Ministry to come up with a non-partisan budget analysis for the first years of an independent Quebec.

The Liberals

  • Support the existing cap-and-trade system designed to reduce greenhouse gases.
  • Would create a "green squad" to enforce environmental regulations and impose fines.
  • Would increase royalties paid for water use in industrial sector.
  • Would dedicate one per cent of province's infrastructure budget ($100 million) to green infrastructure projects.

Parti Québécois

  • Would ban all new fossil fuel projects, and existing projects would be subject to stricter oversight.
  • Would instruct the Caisse de dépôt, Quebec's pension fund, to divest itself of fossil fuel exploration, production and pipeline companies.

Coalition Avenir Québec

  • Supports greenhouse gas reduction targets, but it's unclear how it would accomplish that.
  • Is against the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies and a ban on the construction of new oil and gas infrastructure.

Québec Solidaire​​

  • Would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 95 per cent in the next 30 years. It would require that all vehicles sold in Quebec by 2030 must be electric or hybrid and would ban the sale of gasoline-fuelled cars by 2050.
(CBC)

The Liberals

  • Back the REM light-rail project and the extension of the Blue line and supports the study of the Plante administration's Pink line.
  • Would extend Highway 19 from Laval to Bois-des-Filion.
  • Would make public transit free for seniors and students, at a cost to taxpayers of about $200 million a year.
  • Favour a third link in Quebec City and would consider making it a toll bridge or tunnel.

Parti Québécois

  • Would develop a carpooling mobile app to reduce the number of cars on the roads during rush hour.
  • Plans to get rid of the REM in favour of a more extensive bus and tramway network and add more frequent departures for some commuter trains.
  • Backs the Metro Pink line and would add an additional nine express bus routes in the greater Montreal area.
  • Would wait for a final report estimating the cost of a third link in Quebec City before moving ahead with the project.

Coalition Avenir Québec

  • Emphasizes improved roads and public transit in the suburbs, including the extension of the REM to Chambly on the South Shore and to Laval, north of Montreal.
  • Is against the proposed new Pink Metro line but favours the Blue line extension and tramway in Montreal's East End.
  • Would extend Highway 19 to Bois-des-Filion and widen Highway 30 to three lanes between Highways 10 and 20, for public transit.​
  • Would begin construction of a third link in Quebec City during its first mandate.

Québec Solidaire​​

  • Put forward a $25-billion public transit plan that would deliver 38 new Metro stations by 2030.
  • That plan includes the construction of the proposed Pink Metro line, extending all existing Metro lines, building two new tramways, adding passenger ferries to the north and south shores, and adding dedicated express bus lanes.
  • Opposed to idea of third link in Quebec City, saying it would only increase urban sprawl and traffic.
(CBC)

The Liberals

  • Are the only party that doesn't support introducing some form of proportional representation.
  • Contend that Quebec's less-populated regions would lose their voice in a proportional system, and that any bill to change the system would need unanimous support in the National Assembly.

Parti Québécois

  • Would put in place mixed-member proportional representation.
  • Plans to have a male-female alternate on regional lists in order to promote the representation of women at the National Assembly.

Coalition Avenir Québec

  • Would put in place a form of proportional representation by 2022, under which the number of MNAs would remain at 125.

Québec Solidaire​​

  • Would establish proportional representation where 60 per cent of candidates would be elected to represent a riding and the other 40 per cent would be spread throughout the regions.