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QUEBEC — François Legault has suspended his election campaign until further notice to deal with possible fallout of Hurricane Fiona that is bearing down on Quebec, including Îles-de-la-Madeleine.
Donning his hat of premier, Legault issued a statement and a series of tweets saying he is concerned about the possible effects of the hurricane and wants to be ready to act.
“We are thinking of the people on the North Shore and the Îles-de-la-Madeleine,” the Coalition Avenir Québec leader said. “Hurricane Fiona seems to be headed directly for the islands.
“We hope for the best, but all the government is standing by ready. You are strong les Madelinots. Know that all Quebec is with you.”
The Legault campaign was, in fact, supposed to visit the archipelago Monday. The riding which makes up the islands is currently held by the Parti Québécois, but the election battle between Legault’s CAQ candidate and the PQ incumbent is raging.
Moments after Legault’s announcement, the co-spokesperson for Québec solidaire, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, also announced he was suspending political activities for Saturday.
“It’s time for solidarity,” Nadeau-Dubois said in a tweet. “Courage to the people on the North Shore, the Îles-de-la-Madeleine and the Gaspésie. Quebec stands with you.”
At the same time, Quebec Liberal Party Leader Dominique Anglade said she is contact with the other political parties and evaluating what to do next.
“We’re learning that the situation could be difficult for eastern Quebec,” Anglade said from a campaign rally in Gatineau. “Every party is communicating and trying to figure out the best way to meet the needs of eastern Quebec, depending on how the storm hits.”
Anglade said she’s been in touch with Gil Thériault, the Liberal candidate in Îles-de-la-Madeleine, to ensure everyone is staying safe.
It is still too early to know whether she will also suspend her campaign, Anglade added.
“I think we’re all on high alert and waiting to see how things will go,” Anglade said. “We need to ensure that everyone remains safe and that people take all the necessary measures.”
It’s unclear how the rest of the campaign weekend will unfold. The candidates were all scheduled to appear Sunday evening on the popular Radio-Canada talk show Tout le monde en parle.
Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon had already cancelled his campaign activities for Thursday because he said he was experiencing flu-like symptoms. He tested negative twice for COVID-19.
Jesse Feith of the Montreal Gazette contributed to this report
Legault suspends campaign to deal with fallout of Hurricane Fiona
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