Couillard visits West Island

By Kevin Woodhouse

Last Thursday morning, before attending a meeting with West Island MNAs, municipal and business leaders at Le Chambertin restaurant in Pointe Claire, Quebec Liberal Party leader Philippe Couillard spoke to reporters about a possible upcoming provincial election, the recent free trade accord between Canada and the European Union as well as reacting to the Quebec Human Rights Commission’s response to the PQ’s proposed Charter of Values.

Couillard told reporters that his visit was part of his third tour of the province since becoming leader of the Liberal Party to “meet with citizens, find out what their concerns and interests are and we’re also here to find out what the principle dossiers in the West Island are.”

Couillard praised the recent free trade deal completed by the federal government noting that former Liberal leader and Premier Jean Charest “was one of the pioneers as this was one of his long term objectives. This deal will provide a good advantage for our Canadian and Quebec markets.

In the Quebec Human Rights Commission’s response to the PQ’s Charter, the commission noted that parts of the charter “contravene Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.” Couillard thinks it is time for the government on work on issues “that unite Quebecers and not divide us. This is one of the most serious attacks on all Quebecers and there are already guidelines regarding the neutrality of state.

“There is no need to go further on this issue unless it is to divide people for an election issue,” said Couillard. The Liberal leader saw the Human Rights Commission’s comments as just “another sign of defeat for the PQ on this Charter. They should really reflect on what unites people.”

When asked if an election is forthcoming, Couillard said “that we are not expecting an election but we’re ready to campaign on jobs and the economy. There is a 50-50 chance of an election.”

Couillard also spoke about his support for the Train De L’Ouest commuter rail project. “There needs to be a dedicated rail line and this is a high level priority.”

If the Quebec Liberal Party forms the next government, Couillard said he would “jump start all infrastructure projects abandoned by the PQ” which would include the Highway 440 extension in Pierrefonds-Roxboro.

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