Conservative Party of Quebec tries to win over voters with tax cuts, education reform
Leader Adrien Pouliot says his party is hoping to make gains this election
The leader of the Conservative Party of Quebec is vying for the votes of people looking for a right-leaning party by promising smaller government, tax cuts, and significant changes to the education system.
The CPQ currently hold no seats in the National Assembly, winning less than one per cent of the vote in the 2014 provincial election.
This time around, the party is trying to improve their chances of nabbing a seat, increasing the number of candidates running in the province to 101, up from 59 candidates last election.
Adrien Pouliot, the party's leader, said that the CPQ stands out as the only centre-right party in Quebec.
"We believe that the government is too big, There's just too much government in this province. We're taxed to death," Pouliot told CBC Daybreak, adding that Quebec has one of the highest tax jurisdictions in North America.
"We want to reduce the size of government in order to reduce the tax burden of Quebecers," said Pouliot.
Pouliot, who has been the party leader since 2013, is running in the Quebec City riding of Chauveau.
He is one of several fringe parties competing to take a portion of the votes away from the four main contenders: The Liberals, Parti Québécois, Québec Solidaire and the Coalition Avenir Québec.
Pouliot platform involves sweeping changes to the current government setup, including the abolishing of French-language school boards and institutions like Revenu Québec.
Ditching school boards
If elected, the CPQ would make big changes to Quebec's school boards, scrapping the French and preserving the English.
Pouliot said in order to cut taxes and reduce the cost of education, his party would eliminate French-language school boards across the province.
"We want to take that money and give it to the schools, and make schools more independent so they can be focused on their students instead of being focused on the school boards."
Pouliot said that provincial school boards are not run efficiently, adding that cutting the French school boards would save the government about half a billion dollars.
He justified the move to keep only English school boards, saying that the government has a constitutional mandate to protect minority rights of anglophones in Quebec.
Tax cuts for families
The CPQ is also hoping to draw voters with a promise to give tax breaks to small businesses and families.
Small business would pay 40 per cent less in taxes, and families earning around $60,000 to $80,000 could see their taxes cut by up to 36 per cent.
Pouliot said his party would compensate for these tax breaks by cutting the costs in other sectors.
Immigration has been a hot topic throughout the election campaign. Unlike the CAQ, the CPQ does not support the idea of having a values or language test for new immigrants.
Instead, Pouliot said his party would welcome more immigrants to Quebec, but the selection process would be done more carefully by involving employers directly in the process.
He said immigrants that received an employment contract in Quebec would go to the top of the list.
"Imagine this like a speed dating website, with employers on one side and immigrants on the other," said Pouliot.
CBC Montreal Daybreak continues its one-on-one interviews with party leaders running in the 2018 provincial election. Listen live weekday mornings at 88.5 FM or on cbc.ca/montreal
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