Montreal

'Free yourself' of Liberals, François Legault tells Anglos

François Legault is urging anglophone Quebecers to ignore the "fear campaign" of Philippe Couillard's Liberals.

Leader of Coalition Avenir Québec says he has 'no hidden agenda,' despite what Liberals say

François Legault of the Coalition Avenir Québec speaks to supporters on Sunday. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

François Legault is urging anglophone Quebecers to ignore the "fear campaign" of Philippe Couillard's Liberals.

The leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec addressed English speakers directly in parts of a fiery speech delivered Sunday in Lévis, Que.

"With the CAQ there is no hidden agenda. It's within Canada, plain and simple," he said at the party's convention ahead of the Oct. 1 provincial election.

"We're in a new era. There's no threat of a referendum anymore so there's no reason to stick with the Liberal party that has taken you for granted for decades. Free yourself! Join the team for change."

Legault, a former Parti Québécois cabinet minister, was again faced with questions Saturday over his past views on sovereignty.

He said he rejects those views now. "I prefer the term nationalist, because federalist is more subject to the status quo," he said.

The CAQ is leading in the polls, ahead of both the governing Liberals and the Opposition PQ.

At a news conference following his speech, Legault reiterated his position and said that, "of course, our opponents are trying to mix this message."

He also said that his plan to abolish school boards wouldn't diminish the control anglophones have over their education system, as some critics have suggested.

He said the school boards will be replaced by "service centres," which will serve a similar function. 

With files from Cathy Senay

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