The final legislative session ahead of October's provincial election wrapped up Friday, and while parties have already started campaigning, Premier Philippe Couillard said Quebecers would rather relax than listen to politicians argue.
Leaders will tour the province and chat with voters at backyard barbecues and summer festivals, but the real campaign will begin at the end of August, Couillard said.
"I don't think Quebecers are looking for an aggressive pre-campaign, during the summer," he said at his end-of-session news conference.
"And we wouldn't campaign like that anyway."
Quebec's premier appeared calm and confident, but his pitch to voters contained a message of fear over an economy facing increasingly hostile trade policies from the United States.
Almost 250,000 jobs have been created in the province since 2014 and unemployment is the lowest its been in decades, he boasted.
"Why take a risk?" said Couillard, who has led the province for four years. "It's fragile right now. Look at the economic environment in North America and in the world."
His opponent, Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault, is polling in first place and argued he was the best leader to face U.S. President Donald Trump, who already imposed tariffs on Canadian aluminium and steel and indicated he would go after cars next.
Legault, a former businessman who co-founded airline company Air Transat, contrasted himself with Couillard, a former brain surgeon.
When asked who is best suited to face Trump, Legault said, "do you want a premier who is a doctor or a premier who is a businessman?"
Legault used the word "hope" several times in his end-of-session address, suggesting it would become a major theme in the campaign.
"There is hope!" he told reporters. "There is hope to have a government that will make education a national priority ... that will put money back in your pockets."
A Leger/LCN survey conducted between May 31 and June 10 with a sample of 3,234 Quebecers indicated the Coalition had the support of 37 per cent of respondents, compared with 28 per cent for the governing Liberals and 19 per cent for the Parti Quebecois.
Another highlight of the poll indicated 73 per cent of respondents wanted a change of government — including 24 per cent of those who said they were Liberal party supporters.
Parti Quebecois Leader Jean-Francois Lisee said voters have chosen the Coalition as their vehicle for change — for now.
"They are living their Francois Legault moment and they will stop during the election campaign," said Lisee.
"A vote for us is for conviction and credibility," Lisee said. "Our proposals are credible. We don't have doubts that when the national conversation is held and we'll have real debates ... we are very confident."
Quebecers head to the polls Oct. 1.
Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press