Martin C. Barry
The Conservative Party of Canada hopes to score breakthroughs in Laval and Lower Laurentian ridings, says Gérard Deltell, the CPC’s pointman for Quebec.
Tories courting Quebec
In an interview last week with Newsfirst Multimedia, Deltell, who represents the riding of Louis-Saint-Laurent near Quebec City, and who was accompanied by CPC candidates François Desrochers from Mirabel and Maikel Mikhael from Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, outlined some of the Conservative Party’s campaign strategy.
In a press release issued by the Conservative Party, Deltell calls CPC leader Andrew Scheer “a Francophile and strong believer in the values of Quebec. We’ve felt an incredible momentum of renewal within the party, particularly as it relates to new candidates and new member from all regions of Quebec.”
Trudeau singled out
Based on the CPC’s press statement as well as the interview with Newsfirst Multimedia, it would seem a significant part of the Conservative election plan will depend heavily on disparaging Justin Trudeau. “Quebeckers are fed up with Justin Trudeau, and his lack of understanding towards the bills average people have to pay,” Deltell said in the statement.
“Many Quebec families are worried about making ends meet at the end of the month, and the Liberal government isn’t helping them get by let alone get ahead. Justin Trudeau has ignored the massive deficits he’s been building, and higher deficits now, are even higher taxes later.”
Aiming at trade agreement
While the Liberal government’s dramatic struggle to hastily renegotiate a free trade agreement with the Trump administration in the U.S. dominated news headlines for much of last year, the Conservatives are blaming the Liberals for concessions made to the U.S. at the expense of Canadian farmers.
“Farmers were among the first to pay for Trudeau’s poor performance on the international stage, and he flatly sacrificed it in the NAFTA negotiations,” said Desrochers, a former ADQ MNA for Mirabel. “This government’s first priorities have been to legalize cannabis, to buy a pipeline, and to build up more than 72 billion dollars in deficits, for which we see absolutely no concrete results,” added Mikhael.
Trying to rebuild support
“We are the only party to recognize the Quebec nation, to give more power to the Quebec government to better manage its immigration and to negotiate the single tax levied in Quebec as desired by the Legault government,” Mikhael noted. “That’s how we defend the interests of Quebec.”
Although the Progressive Conservatives managed to win and hold onto several ridings in Laval and on the North Shore for a time during the 1980s and early 1990s, the party has had little success since then, consistently being beaten at the polls by voter support for the Bloc Québécois, the NDP and the Liberals.
Deltell was asked by Newsfirst Multimedia about the factors he believes might favour the CPC scoring a breakthrough in October on the North Shore and in Laval. In his response, he returned to the theme of questioning Justin Trudeau’s leadership.
Income tax election pledge
“If you talk about the 90s, this is a brand new game – to talk 35 years later about where we are today,” he said. “The question the people will have to address, the valid question, will be do you want to continue with Justin Trudeau. Because if you don’t want to continue with Justin Trudeau, the Conservatives are there to have a serious government.”
Deltell said an important election pledge the Conservative Party is making to Quebec voters before the Oct. 1 election date is to revise federal income tax laws and regulations in order to facilitate the creation of a new tax system that would see Quebecers filing only one tax return in the future, instead of two as is now the case.
Doing away with dual tax
“As you know Quebecers are the only people in Canada who must produce two income tax reports,” he said. “This is totally unacceptable. We are the only party that has stated the fact that it will be done. And we are the only party that can do that. Of course, we have other issues to address.
“When we see all the mess created by Justin Trudeau himself, with his implication in the situation like we have with the former attorney-general who was demoted because she suffered much pressure, people don’t like that. The only way to do anything about this government is to vote for Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives.”
Quebec on board, he says
Although it was Quebec originally which had sought and obtained the unique right as a Canadian province to levy and collect personal income tax apart from the federal income tax system, the Conservatives, according to Deltell, are certain that the current Quebec government will agree to a single income tax system.
He noted that just a few days after the Conservative Party’s announcement of its support for the measure in May last year, the Quebec National Assembly unanimously passed a motion endorsing the position. “So the provincial level parties are following our initiative, not the reverse,” said Deltell. “[Premier] Legault clearly said he wanted that. Even the Liberals said that. And so we will move forward with that.”
Will conservatives be split?
In 2016, less than a year after he was first elected to the House of Commons, Deltell speculated in a Globe and Mail profile article while gazing forward to the 2019 election: “The worst thing that could happen in the coming process is for us to have a Reform candidate and an Alliance candidate and a Progressive Conservative candidate.”
Since then, former Conservative cabinet minister Maxime Bernier split from the Tories to start his People’s Party of Canada, which leans even further to the right than the CPC. Deltell was asked what he thought of the Conservative Party’s chances now, given this new development.
“What we have seen since he decided to go it alone is that he is still alone,” said Deltell, referring to Bernier. “I mean, no members of Parliament have decided to follow him, and no high or ranking party people have decided to follow him. This is the reality. And at the end of the day people will decide.”