Corinne Canuel-Jolicoeur - Coalition Avenir Québec
Name: Corinne Canuel-Jolicoeur
Canuel-Jolicoeur has lived in Aylmer for 15 years with her husband and three children. She is the Human Resources Director for Women and Gender Equality Canada and is also a real estate agent and social worker by training. Canuel-Jolicoeur has volunteered for various neighbourhood organisations and served on the board of a local domestic violence centre. She entered politics because she wants to contribute to the social and economic development of the region where she lives and is raising her children. “I am at the service of the people of Pontiac. I would like to be a strong voice for Pontiac at the National Assembly that truly represents everyone so that West Quebec is really heard and our services in the region are improved.”
Party: Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ)
Political spectrum: Centre-right
View on Quebec sovereignty: The CAQ identifies as a nationalist party. Canuel-Jolicoeur said the question of separation is an outdated issue for old parties. As a new party, the CAQ believes Quebec should have greater autonomy over areas such as immigration and healthcare.
Canuel-Jolicoeur supports the decentralization of the healthcare system in Quebec. She plans to bring decision making powers to the regions and local healthcare institutions and wants to reopen the obstetrics unit at the Pontiac Hospital and staff local residents for the new university hospital to be built in the region. Additionally, Canuel-Jolicoeur said that her government would work to reduce wait times for primary care through a virtual platform and improving ambulance services. She said that improving the quality of emergency care in general is a major priority.
Canuel-Jolicoeur intends to raise salaries for healthcare professionals in order to attract and retain healthcare staff in the region. She is also committed to improving working conditions and enhancing the overall quality of life in Pontiac to make the region more attractive to long term residents for example by increasing access to daycare and improving schools. “We can’t look at one problem in an isolated way just as a recruitment issue, we need to see things as a whole and think about the quality of life [milieu de vie] offered in the region.”
Canuel-Jolicoeur highlighted that the environment is a priority for the CAQ. “The environment is very important for us, it is our planet and our health…We are an ambitious, but also a practical party. We have targets and plan to reach them.” She said that the CAQ plans to reduce carbon emissions by ending sales on all gas cars by 2035 and become a carbon neutral province by 2050. For Outaouais, the party plans to continue their 2019 initiative to make all public transportation electric.
Canuel-Jolicoeur also mentioned that investing in green energy is another measure that the CAQ will take to protect the environment, “We want to become the battery of North America and we plan to maximise our green energy.”
Improving the educational system and investing more in schools is a priority for the CAQ. Canuel-Jolicoeur said that she will work to improve the quality of elementary and secondary education and increase the number of French post-secondary programs offered in the Outaouais. She hopes that increasing the funding and improving the quality of education in the region will help encourage students in the Outaouais to study and work locally. She said that her party will invest an additional $2 million to improve schools in the Outaouais and will also work with residents in rural Pontiac to identify and implement needs for post-secondary programs.
Language and Diversity (Bill 96 and Bill 21):
When asked about Bill 96 Canuel-Jolicoeur said that the law is misunderstood and should not be understood as infringing on the rights of Anglophones in the province. She said that students who had the right to study in English under Bill 101, are not required to take three additional courses in French at Cegep, but that the Bill will only affect those who are not given the right to study English under the provisions of Bill 101. Neither will anglophones be affected by caps on the number of English students accepted in Cegeps.
She also said that the Bill will not have any impact on health and social services and residents will have access to these services in the same way they did prior to Bill 96. She further noted, however, that if issues arise with its implementation she will be sure to highlight them at the National Assembly, “It's a new law, if there are improvements that need to be made I will be a strong voice and mention them, and if I am at the table it will be easy for me to highlight issues. I think that we will be able to work together to find solutions.”
When asked about Bill 21 Canuel-Jolicoeur said that she did not believe targeting religious minorities such as Muslim women is in the spirit of the law. Rather she believes that Bill 21 is about ensuring that public institutions remain secular and that it is a continuation of the process of institutional secularisation in Quebec following the abolition of the Catholic Church's authority in public institutions.