VICTORIAVILLE – In view of the upcoming federal election, the Conservatives in Quebec are hoping to ride the wave of popularity that elicited François Legault’s majority government in the province a few months ago.
They hope to double their number of seats in Quebec and target 20-25 MPs in 2019 in the province.
Candidates, Conservative MPs in Quebec and several hundred activists were in Victoriaville Friday night and will be present Saturday for a general council. Training sessions, media panel and speeches by chef Andrew Scheer are on the menu.
The Conservative lieutenant in Quebec, MP Alain Rayes, does not hide that he is inspired by the strategy of the Future Coalition Quebec (CAQ) for the recruitment of candidates. It does not look for celebrities known nationally, but people well established in their community.
“The CAQ has also seen the same things as us and maybe our paths are intersecting right now,” says Rayes.
“It shows us the potential, it gives hope, that I can confirm. It is thought to be able to make breakthroughs on the island of Montreal, as the CAQ has managed to do, “he adds.
The Conservative Party of Canada has quietly announced dozens of applications across Quebec in the last few weeks. The goal is to have a team ready to campaign well before the start of the election, like the CAQ last year.
So far, the party has 56 confirmed candidates in 78 constituencies in Quebec, including the 11 MPs elected to the House of Commons under the Conservative banner in 2015.
Of these 56 applications, 41% are women, which places the number of women candidates in the parity zone. This is not the goal at the end of the exercise, confirms Mr. Rayes, who says he wants to focus first on the competence instead of filling quotas.
Knock on doors
The conservative candidate in Quebec Bianca Boutin says it immediately: she is not a “star candidate”.
Ms. Boutin, who until recently was a press secretary for former Liberal minister Lucie Charlebois, believes that she has won her nomination by knocking on doors and recruiting members.
“I’m from Quebec, I grew up there, I do my grocery shopping at the Metro in the neighborhood. It is by going to make known to me that I think that I will win, estimates the mother of two girls.
Other candidates with a more public profile needed a little more persuasion from Conservative troops in Quebec.
Former hockey player Angelo Esposito, running in the Alfred-Pellan riding in Laval, said he had not thought of running for politics. But one must admit that there are great similarities between hockey and sport, according to him.
“It’s a team work. It is to go to the corners and win battles for the world “, illustrates the one who hopes to see a” blue wave “in Quebec.
Pipelines: a “pedagogy” to do
The Conservatives promise to unveil a plan in environment at a date still undetermined. But no question of calling into question their support for pipelines to transport oil, they say.
“This is not a sexy subject to sell in Quebec,” says Rayes, who says there will be “pedagogy” to do with Quebecers.
The Conservatives plan to hit the nail of “realism”. Many citizens buy pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles that consume more gas.
“We decided to make the choice to say the real things, to assume our position and people will understand at the end,” says Mr. Rayes.
The party also wants to drive the economy of the western provinces by exploiting their oil sands oil, deemed more polluting.
“We think this is the best solution and we are running our economy, the time people are making the changes, that people are changing their consumption habits,” says Rayes.