One of the leaders vying to be Quebec premier is worth millions of dollars more than his opponents.Coalition Avenir Quebec’s Francois Legault’s personal wealth stood at $9.86 million as of this past July 31, according to documents filed Monday.
That includes a $4.5-million Montreal home he owns with his wife on which they pay about $36,000 a year in municipal taxes. It is his only property.Legault, who co-founded Air Transat, had a retirement savings portfolio worth $5.78 million, but also a $471,000 equity line of credit. He had just under $127,000 in income last year, according to his federal return. The Coalition leader said on Day 33 of the campaign he didn’t like having to make his assets public, but that it was an obligation in the interest of transparency. “I think it’s a tradition in about everywhere in the world to publish your assets, to publish your income-tax reports,” Legault said. “I did it in 2014, I did it this year. I think it’s important that we be transparent. “(But) I don’t like that. I have two boys of 24 and 25, so if you have children you can imagine the reaction. I don’t want them to spend the money right away.” The party, which has a strong stance against tax havens, noted that Legault has no bank accounts outside of Canada. Parti Quebecois Leader Jean-Francois Lisee, meanwhile, listed assets worth $1.95 million — but the documents did not include his income tax return. His most recent municipal tax bill was for $3,771.87 on a property in Quebec City. He also owns 40 per cent of a property in Montreal that is estimated to be worth $468,000, while the documents show Lisee has a line of credit of about $71,000. Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard said earlier during the election campaign he would not release his finances, but decided to publish them Monday evening. Couillard has assets worth $659,402, but due to some credit card, mortgage and other debt, has a net worth of about $442,000. “You’ll see you don’t get rich in politics,” Couillard said Monday morning in Montreal, a few hours before he released the numbers. The Liberal leader declared $198,000 in salary for the year 2017. He and his wife paid about $6,000 in municipal taxes last year and the couple’s home in Saint-Felicien, Que., is valued at $490,000. Meanwhile, Quebec solidaire co-spokesperson Manon Masse had no assets or property, her party said. The party’s candidate for premier made $3,150 worth of donations in 2017, including $2,300 to the Federation des femmes du Quebec, a women’s organization. Party leaders were also presented a request to lay out their personal financial situations in 2014. All of them answered the call, but then-PQ leader Pauline Marois only divulged her 2012 tax return after initially balking at the request altogether, arguing she’d already filed her paperwork with the province’s ethics commissioner. Earlier on Monday, Legault said he would spend the coming days in Quebec’s outlying regions, hoping their votes would put him back into majority territory. “I don’t take anything for granted,” Legault said in Mont-Laurier. “I’m confident that on Oct. 1, we will have a majority government, and it will be mainly because of the regions.” Lisee, meanwhile, encouraged anglophone voters to give his party a whirl, noting they could safely vote PQ knowing there won’t be a sovereignty referendum in the party’s first mandate. The PQ Leader encouraged voters who generally wouldn’t touch the PQ to try it for a term and park their vote elsewhere in 2022 if he hasn’t convinced them by then of the benefits of independence. He said anglophones generally support the PQ’s push for clean, green government. “It warms my heart because it means our message is getting through of who we are,” Lisee said. “We will not change our core conviction to get votes, but the deal we can make with you is that our commitment to not hold a referendum of independence in the first mandate is iron-clad.” — with files from Julien Arsenault and Vicky Fragasso-Marquis in Montreal and Melanie Marquis in Mont-Laurier, Que. Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected version; a previous story had the wrong family name in para 10