Montreal

Quebec premier aims for gender parity in next provincial election

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is hoping to have more women run under his party's banner during the province's next election and hold more positions in the National Assembly.

Philippe Couillard also hopes to start dialogue, lift taboo about constitutional debate

Premier Philippe Couillard said he plans to present a gender-balanced team of candidates in 2018. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press)

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is hoping to have more women run under his party's banner during the province's next election and hold more positions in political office.

He made the statement during the Quebec Liberal Party's general meeting in Trois-Rivières, Que., Saturday.

Couillard said he plans to present a gender-balanced team of candidates in 2018. During the last general election in 2014, women made up about 30 per cent of Liberal candidates.

The province's Council on the Status of Women has recommended at least 40 per cent of a party's candidates should be women.

Constitution should not be taboo

Couillard also took the opportunity to discuss the policy he unveiled earlier this week aimed at reopening the constitutional debate and officially recognizing Quebec's distinct character.

While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau immediately panned the idea of reopening the debate, Couillard stressed discussions about the subject shouldn't be taboo.

"Over the last few years it's as if we don't have the right in Quebec or Canada to talk about this subject," said Couillard.

"We'll restore that right to talk about it in order to revive contact and dialogue with other Canadians."

Quebec was the only province not to sign on to Canada's Constitution in 1982, a rejection that spurred divisive debate about Quebec's role within the country.  

With files from Radio-Canada

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