Quebec post 2012 elections
Quebec’s public sector debt has now reached $ 264 billion dollars. Following the tabling of the budget, the Montreal Economic Institute updated its popular Quebec Debt Clock in real time. We estimate that the debt increases by: $9.3 billion from now to March 31, 2015, the equivalent of $25 million per day, $17 670 per minute, or $294 per second. — Montreal Economic Institute, 21 February 2014
PQ pushes history rewrite
… since the 2012 election, the PQ has made a lot of headway on the “renewal” of history classes, from elementary school up to CEGEP, to “reinforce Quebec identity.”
It has earmarked $4 million for eight research chairs on Quebec history and identity, and has vowed to make Quebec history a compulsory course in CEGEP, leaving students with only one elective, starting this fall. (The other three major parties believe the PQ has moved too fast on this, and would put a hold on the plan if elected. CEGEP students at Vanier plan to demonstrate against the mandatory history course on Thursday.) Starting in September – if the PQ is re-elected – the History of Quebec and Canada will replace the Grade 9 History and Citizenship Education, with the “Quebec nation” as the narrative framework. One week before the election was called, the education ministry released its report on the new course and announced the creation of 90 pilot projects.
Commission calls province’s energy policy ruinous, urges more investment in public transit, efficiency
(Montreal Gazette) Among the commission’s recommendations: [ The full report (in French)]
Set a goal of reducing the use of petroleum products by 20 per cent by 2025 and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by 75 per cent by 2050;
Immediately study the possibility of suspending phases 3 and 4 of the Romaine River hydroelectric project; stop or suspend wind, cogeneration and small-dam projects for infrastructure that has not yet been built;
Support TransCanada’s proposed west-east oil pipeline, but have the project studied by the province’s environmental-review board;
Support Enbridge’s proposed Line 9B oil pipeline-reversal project;
Tackle the problems of urban sprawl and improving public transit;
Update the provincial building code to improve the energy efficiency of buildings;
Les anglophones ne vivent pas dans l’insécurité au Québec, dit Marois
(La Presse) Selon la première ministre Pauline Marois, les anglophones et les allophones ne vivent pas dans un climat d’insécurité au Québec, a-t-elle affirmé jeudi, deux jours après la publication d’un sondage révélant que la moitié d’entre eux ont envisagé de quitter la province l’année dernière.
Montreal’s economy lags behind other Canadian cities, BMO president says
Study calls for unlocking city’s potential by improving infrastructure, granting it special status
Montreal’s economic development lags behind that of other Canadian cities and it needs greater political and economic powers to turn around its sagging fortunes, says a new study by BMO Financial Group, in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group.
A key to unlocking the city’s potential is to mobilize the expertise, innovation and energy of its five universities instead of treating them simply like service centres, said BMO President L. Jacques Ménard, the chancellor of Concordia University, who unveiled the 162-page study Tuesday.
“Montreal is a revolving door,” he said, noting the city loses as many residents as it gains.
Attracting talented, creative people requires better transportation infrastructure, efforts to make the urban environment more livable and special status for Montreal, which has no more powers than small towns like Ste-Adèle or Mascouche, Ménard said.
Special Report: Half of Quebec non-francophones consider leaving
Stay or Go series looks at what’s pushing people out of Quebec and what’s keeping them
(CBC) Half of Quebec’s anglophone and allophone population have considered leaving the province in the past year, a new EKOS poll commissioned by the CBC suggests.
While only 11 per cent of francophone respondents said they had considered leaving, the top reasons why people said they have considered leaving weren’t centred on language. Most people across all groups named taxes, jobs, political uncertainty and the economy as the most significant reasons they had contemplated a departure.
3 Liberal MNAs reveal they won’t run in next election
West Island MNAs Yolande James and Pierre Marsan, and Trois-Rivières MNA Danielle St-Amand, to bow out
Quebec heading for provincial election, separatists lead
(Reuters) – Quebec’s two main opposition parties said on Thursday they would oppose the separatist Parti Quebecois government’s budget, assuring a spring election, and raising the possibility of an eventual third referendum on independence from Canada.
The Parti Quebecois currently heads a minority government, and has a comfortable lead in the polls. It has signaled it might well call an election on its own in the next two weeks, before it is brought down by a vote on its budget. In either case, an election by mid-April is likely.
If Premier Pauline Marois decided not to call an election on her own, her Parti Quebecois would need the support of either the Quebec Liberals or the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ), but both have said they oppose the budget.
Quebec Budget 2014: PQ Touts Economic Performance Amid Election Talk
(HuffPost) The Parti Quebecois government tabled what it calls a “responsible” budget Thursday aimed at erasing doubts over the party’s economic record and blunting opponent attacks ahead of an expected spring election.
The fiscal blueprint projects a $1.75-billion shortfall in 2014-15 on revenue of $71.6 billion.
Premier Pauline Marois’ government, which backed away from an earlier prediction to balance the books by this year, now promises to guide the struggling province out of the red by 2015-16.
Under Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau’s plan, the PQ seeks to create jobs, avoid tax hikes, further exploit Quebec’s natural resources and rein in government spending, such as pushing for “fair” agreements with physicians and public-sector workers during upcoming contract negotiations.
PQ tables budget, prepares to face off against civil servants over salaries
With an election looming, the Parti Québécois minority government is prepared to lock horns with doctors and civil servants over salaries as part of a provincial budget tabled on Thursday that includes higher daycare rates and fewer school boards.
Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau was eager to project an image of a fiscally responsible government in a bid to reach out to the more conservative-minded middle class suburban voters who may be the key to forming a PQ majority government.
Hatley summary: Marceau presents no-news budget ahead of expected election call
No income or sales tax increases for the next year
No spending cuts – 3% increase in health and education next year
Daycare fees increasing from $7 to $8/day this fall and to $9 a year after
Hydro rates to increase by 5.8%
Threshold for discounted hydro rates lowered from 15MW to 2MW projects
School board mergers planned to save additional $
Marois pledges ‘responsible’ budget as Quebec opposition prepares to pounce
Premier Pauline Marois is promising to table a “responsible” budget on Thursday, one that opposition parties contend will create a false sense of security over the province’s shaky financial situation on the eve of a likely election campaign.
“We will not raise taxes,” Ms. Marois promised in the National Assembly. “And we will set hydro rates to the cost of living.”
The Premier declined to say whether the government’s spending estimates will be released at the same time as the budget. In the last budget, tabled in the late fall 2012, the spending estimates unveiled millions of dollars in cutbacks to social programs.
The opposition parties are anxious to use Thursday’s financial outlook to launch an attack against the Parti Québécois in what will likely be a glimpse of what the coming election campaign will look like. Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard is convinced the PQ will attempt to hide the province’s true financial picture.
Dépôt d’un budget et publication du rapport du Vérificateur général du Québec : Les Québécois ont droit à la vérité sur les finances publiques
Philippe Couillard Pierre Paradis ont défié aujourd’hui Pauline Marois de s’engager à ne pas déclencher d’élections générales avant le dépôt d’un budget en bonne et due forme et la publication du rapport du Vérificateur général du Québec.
Hydro-Quebec forced to pay do-nothing workers to keep labour peace
On its books, Hydro-Quebec called the practice “risk management.”
(CTV) Unionized workers in Quebec were paid full salary for two years while performing absolutely no tasks, all with the blessing of their executives.
Dozens of people have told the Charbonneau Commission that they were bullied and intimidated at construction sites in Quebec, and all were too afraid to talk in public about what happened.
Michel Comeau, an investigator with the corruption inquiry, personally met 70 people who had been harassed and threatened, whether they were employers, company owners, managers or union representatives.
Quebec premier breathes new life into sovereignty movement
In an election-style speech on Wednesday evening in Shawinigan, Marois said that if re-elected, her party would produce a white paper on the future of Quebec.
Rhéal Séguin: Premier Pauline Marois is preparing for an early spring election campaign that would have Quebeckers going to the polls in April.
The date of the election has not yet been etched in stone but speculation is mounting as the Parti Québécois minority government this week tries to build momentum and gauge public opinion to determine its chances if an election were called next month.
On Monday, the PQ minority government launched its first pre-election offensive with more than a dozen cabinet ministers participating in 23 announcements. Several local projects that included school renovations, job-creation initiatives as well as tourism and agriculture investments were unveiled, adding up to several millions of dollars.
A total of 85 government activities, mainly in central Quebec regions, were being planned for this week alone. The PQ caucus will gather on Wednesday for a two-day meeting in Shawinigan, near Trois-Rivières, where the likelihood of an election will be on the minds of caucus members who have been told to get ready for a campaign.
Cement industry furious after Quebec gives $350 million to competing factory
Gaspésie project will exacerbate overcapacity, industry association president says
The cement industry reacted with “anger, even fury” Friday after Pauline Marois confirmed Quebec would invest $350 million in a $1-billion cement factory in Gaspésie.
But Laurent Beaudoin, the driving force behind the McInnis Cement project, said in a telephone interview that “it’s because these guys are in the markets we’re targeting (in the U.S. northeast), and they don’t want to see us around. We’ve done a lot of work on efficiency (for the future plant) and it’ll be one of the most modern and productive in the world. And they haven’t invested in their facilities in 40 years.”
Beryl Wajsman: The LÉGER POLL
The Leger Marketing poll released this week was dismaying for several reasons. Obviously troubling was the fact that the percentages seem to put the PQ within reach of a slim majority government. But equally – if not more – troubling , is the fact that the reason for increased support for the government is broader acceptance of its identity initiative called Bill 60. This truly puts into question where Quebecers’ minds are at. Too many just don’t seem to get it.
The only reasonable conclusion from these breakdowns is that either voters in the regions are not aware of Quebec’s precarious economic position, or just care more about prejudice than prosperity. The Marois administration has made it almost impossible for Quebec to recover. It missed its budget estimates leaving a $2 billion deficit that will take years – by Finance Minister Marceau’s own admission – to cover. It has mandated permanent moratoriums on natural gas development on the South Shore, oil exploration in the Gaspé and Anticosti and any discussion of the monetization of Hydro-Quebec by putting it on the stock markets as France did with Électricité de France so that rates can be dropped for North America`s most over-taxed population. Federal numbers have demonstrated that some 30,000 have left Quebec in the first nine months of 2013 alone, the highest number since the 1995 referendum. Moody`s credit rating service has put the province on `”negative” watch. And the PQ’s bombastic language and culture proposals – Bills 14 and 60 – have frozen out foreign investment. Quite a record for 16 months in power. Imagine what the PQ can do with a majority.
The tragedy in all this is that Quebec has the natural resources and skilled population to become one of the most prosperous jurisdictions in the west as it once was. Just look at Montreal. This city surpassed Boston several years ago for the greatest number of college and university students per capita in North America. Our port is the third most profitable on the continent. And our bio-pharma and avionics industries are national leaders. But you’ll never hear the nationalists talk about that. Because they know full well that the next election will be the battle for Montreal. And it may be our last chance to wrest control of Montrealers’ destinies from the nationalists’ yoke.
The Quebec government story is a little different today:
Quebec premier says values charter won’t impact foreign investment
The premier made the remarks in London, [she is, of course, on her way to Davos] where she announced a $10-million government investment in White Star Capital, a capital-risk firm.
Liberals lead in new poll; support for sovereignty waning
A new Leger Marketing poll conducted for Le Devoir suggests the Quebec Liberal Party is gaining in popularity among Quebec voters and also suggests support for Quebec independence is falling especially among francophone voters.
The Liberal Party is five percentage points ahead of the PQ, with 37 per cent to their 32. The CAQ is third at 19 per cent.
Among francophones, the PQ leads with 39 per cent of the vote to the Liberals’ 28; CAQ has 21.
When it came to the question of sovereignty, the Leger Marketing poll suggested support is dropping, especially among francophones. Only 33 per cent of Quebecers would vote ‘yes’ in a referendum in favour of sovereignty; 51 per cent would vote no, and 13 per cent were undecided.
PQ gives up on balanced budget, projecting $2.5-billion deficit
Quebec is abandoning its goal of a balanced budget this year, saying wary consumers and softening economic growth in North America have sent its revenues spiralling downward.
In contrast to pledges just a few months ago of an imminent end to deficits, the Quebec government is now projecting a shortfall of $2.5-billion for the current fiscal year, having rejected any deep spending cuts or tax hikes that would have closed that gap.
Julius Grey: Assisted suicide is wrong and dangerous
Despite the good intentions of its advocates, assisted suicide is related to the moral relativism of our times and our society’s refusal to discuss issues of good and evil. In medicine, “good” means both reducing suffering and the prolonging of life. These two goals need not be pitted against each other. They are entirely compatible.
Alcoa threatens to close Quebec smelters over hydro hikes
3,000 workers could lose their jobs at aluminum production facilities
The Alcoa aluminum company says it’s prepared to close its facilities in Quebec if its electricity rates go up as expected in 2015. Alcoa has been purchasing its power from Hydro-Québec at a preferential rate, which is expected to rise by more than one cent per killowatt hour, or about 50 per cent overall. The company said the increase would add 60 per cent to the cost of producing aluminum. …
The 3,300 jobs which would be lost in Baie-Comeau on the north shore, and around Bécancour and Deschambault in the centre of Quebec, are in areas where the PQ and the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) get most of the votes.
The PQ will have to work pretty hard to soothe the fear and anger felt by Mr. Corriveau and those voters who find themselves in this situation.
Investors ‘more comfortable’ putting money into gas projects in Iraq than Quebec: banker
Financial Post — Canada’s oil and gas industry is “losing the war” against anti-hydrocarbon activism as the balance of power tilts in favour of project opponents, says the head of Quebec’s Oil and Gas Association.
Beryl Wajsman: Ottawa intervenes in Bill 99 court challenge – How we got here from there
Federal fight against Bill 99 is a ‘devious’ attack against Quebec: PQ
Prime Minister Stephen Harper came under attack Sunday from both separatist and federalist opponents for his decision to fight a Quebec law that outlines the province’s right to secede unilaterally.
Alexandre Cloutier, the Parti Québécois’ minister of intergovernmental affairs, called the move a “direct” and “devious” attack against the Quebec nation.
William Watson: Fiscal assassins
(Ottawa Citizen) Last week Quebec’s premier and her finance minister showed up to see and be seen and, importantly for their own future employment, to play at being “job-creators” at a grand opening by Ubisoft, the animation company. The ministers were there to participate in Ubisoft’s announcement of a new $378-million investment involving 500 new jobs in Montreal’s leading-edge animation industry. To grease the skids, government will be providing “fiscal incentives” of almost $10 million.
Question: If your city has an “insane amount of talent in an industry,” why are you bribing that industry’s companies with tax breaks and subsidies? … if you really do have advantages other centres don’t — as the government loves to emphasize and even take credit for in virtually all other contexts except during handout announcements — why do you need to subsidize it? You might even want to think about taxing the animation industry a little more than other jurisdictions would. If the benefits it enjoys from being in Montreal are really as considerable as you claim, it wouldn’t leave just because of a little extra tax.
Don Macpherson: (Updated) PKP and the PQ
After Premier Pauline Marois appointed Québecor media mogul Pierre Karl Péladeau chair of Hydro-Québec last April, I noted in my column in The Gazette “speculation that, at only 51, he may have personal political ambitions.”
And, I noted, by the time Marois steps down as Parti Québécois leader, Péladeau “may be ready to succeed her.”
Well, call it a rumour, call it speculation, but there was talk again on Tuesday about Péladeau climbing into the political ring with the PQ, and maybe succeeding Marois as its leader.
PQ announces $2-billion jobs plan
Plan criticized, called “election propaganda” by opposition
The Parti Québécois government is vying to reboot the province’s economy with a new $2-billion plan that it says will create more than 40,000 jobs by 2017.
Premier Pauline Marois and Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau revealed the job creation program at a press conference Monday that had the look and feel of an election campaign event.
The plan aims to encourage new investments and jobs in Quebec through incentives like electricity at discounted rates and tax credits.
The money injected into the province will fund employment and development in a number of targeted areas:
$566-million for the renovation of infrastructure, including community centres, arenas and schools
$516-million for the development of an electric transit industry in Quebec that will build electric cars, electric railways, and related infrastructure.
Don Macpherson: Increasing signs of a snap election
They say people are cynical about politics. Yet a surprising number of them are apparently naive enough to assume without any supporting evidence that the Parti Québécois minority government is seeking a compromise that would allow it to pass most of its proposed “Charter of Quebec Values.”
On the contrary, what evidence is available suggests that Premier Pauline Marois’s government has no intention of passing the charter before the next election, but instead intends to save it for a main plank in its campaign platform.
Even people as politically experienced as former PQ premiers Jacques Parizeau and Lucien Bouchard appear to believe that the Marois government is open to compromise.
Breaking Quebec–The Marois malaise
(The Suburban) The hit cable series Breaking Bad ended its five-year run this past weekend. But we have another up here. It’s called “Breaking Quebec” starring Pauline Marois.
Amidst the stark battles over Bill 14 and the Values Charter, sight has been lost of the broader malaise of the Marois administration. And frankly, some anger should be kept in reserve by demonstrators to make their voices heard on it.
This is a government that has contracted opportunity, sown division and trammeled hope. And to such an extent that reasonable people could be forgiven for thinking it was done in an almost premeditated manner meant to create a total command state devoid of growth with enough of its citizens dependent on a government cheque as to insure the PQ’s re-election.
Former PQ leader André Boisclair leaves diplomatic post
International Relations Minister Jean-Francois Lisee confirms Boisclair’s departure
Don Macpherson: Snap Quebec election Dec. 9?
Omnipresent political commentator Jean Lapierre was the first to say it. On our weekly political panel on the CTV Montreal noon news last week, he said he had a feeling Premier Pauline Marois might call a snap election for Dec. 9.
Why Dec. 9, precisely? There are political and practical reasons.
The political reason is that it would get the election out of the way before the government has to bring down what will probably be another unpopular austerity budget next March.
One of the practical reasons is that Dec. 9 would be the earliest possible date for an election whose campaign would not overlap with the one for the Nov. 3 province-wide municipal elections.
Another is that Dec. 9 is the last date on which a provincial election could be held before the winter; even then, it would be the latest calendar date ever for a Quebec general election.
Editorial: Marois, one year on
(Ottawa Citizen editorial) Calling it erratic would be the kindest assessment of the current Parti Québécois government’s performance on the anniversary week of its election in September of last year.
Its first year in office has been marked by broken election promises, imprudent policy improvisations, dubious appointments and dissatisfaction levels that took the former Liberal government several years to achieve.
It did not take long for the newly elected government to renege on its election promise to eliminate the $200 annual health premium. Also discarded, albeit happily in this case, was the PQ pledge to extend Bill 101’s restrictions on access to English-language schooling to the CEGEP level.
Pierre Martin Patriquin — Karl Péladeau: King of Quebec
Quebecor’s restless titan: He controls the province’s media and its star system. Courted by politicians, he’s feared by journalists
Jean-François Minardi: The Economic Benefits of Pipeline Projects to Eastern Canada
Economic Note exposing the need for a stable petroleum supply for Quebec’s petrochemical industry Read Report
Rentrée parlementaire : Pas d’abolition du Sénat sans la signature du Québec au bas de la Constitution, prévient Couillard
Le chef libéral, qui poursuit la reconstruction de son parti, ne veut pas jouer dans le film identitaire du gouvernement et de la CAQ. Et il lance un avertissement constitutionnel à Ottawa. Entrevue.
More families tell of horror stories about Quebec’s Program 68
‘Would you accept this treatment for your own family?’ one woman asks
(Gazette) Quebec is one of many provinces trying to resolve hospital overcrowding by moving geriatric patients. In theory, it’s a cost-effective measure, according to the Canadian Medical Association: It costs about $842 a day to keep a patient in an acute-care hospital, $126 a day in a long-term-care facility and less to keep them at home with community support.
But Program 68, Quebec’s pilot project that was launched in Montreal in 2009, dramatically revised the transfer process to three stages starting with the evacuation of a hospital bed within 72 hours of being deemed stable. Next comes a stay in a residence for evaluation, which may last three months, followed by a transfer to a temporary home for a period of six months to two years before a final move to a residence of choice.
Paul Brunet, head of a patients’ rights group, said Program 68 has become a distorted, Kafkaesque procedure that works for bed flow.
One reader comment sums up the situation:
It is not just hospital beds but the ER as well. Elderly frequently come back to the ER and this poses a real strain on the system. As they should, they have the same priority and value as anyone else but have nowhere else to turn. The problem is that the capacity of the ER and indeed hospitals as such are already maxed out (by far). This will not change even with the new super hospitals, in fact, there will be fewer beds available when these open. At the same time, we are getting older. As a society, we do need to take a hard look at what our needs are and how we can solve these. Elderly need to be taken care of long term with dignity and quality of life assured. This should not be a matter of debate but rather, how can we fix this. Geriatrics needs to expand significantly. So does our capacity to treat chronic diseases including dementia, diabetes and various types of cancer which affect most of us, especially when we get older. Geriatrics and the failure of it has really become the elephant in the room and this elephant is growing rapidly and is now impossible to ignore. Many will say, this will cost too much. Yes, it will cost a lot but human life and dignity should not be about money. Lastly, this is not about PQ or any other political party. Like a chronic disease, this situation has taken a lot of time to develop (deteriorate). We could say, neglected. Now, like our potholes, we have to fix this.Pierre Martin: Lac-Mégantic disaster — Political winners and losers
Lac-Mégantic Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche and Quebec Premier Pauline Marois have demonstrated solid leadership during crisis. At federal level, there is no clear winner.
In sum, Lac-Mégantic’s tragedy may have a real impact on Quebec’s provincial politics, but much more would be needed for the PQ to regain its once-dominant position. In federal politics, where it should perhaps matter most in terms of the issues raised by the disaster, the Harper government’s response has been so hesitant and bungled that it may lose the little support it had left in the province. Which opposition party might pick up the pieces, however, is anyone’s guess.
(Toronto Star) Lac-Mégantic’s mayor, Colette Roy-Laroche, is way ahead of the pack. The political implications of her role are limited, but at a time of scandal-ridden municipal politics in Quebec, it is nice to be reminded that local politicians are often outstanding community leaders who deserve respect.
The other potential political winner is Pauline Marois. After more than a week, even the premier’s staunchest critics recognize that she has demonstrated the empathy, decisiveness and managerial abilities that are the hallmarks of solid leadership in a crisis situation.
Quebec’s energy future open for debate in public hearings
The Quebec government will hold a series of public hearings across the province this fall on Quebec’s energy future, Quebec Natural Resources Minister Martine Ouellet announced Thursday at a news conference in Montreal.
Quebec’s construction workers forced back to work after 2-week strike
Quebec construction workers went back to work Tuesday morning after provincial lawmakers passed special legislation ordering an end to a two-week strike that crippled billions worth of building projects.
Some 77,000 labourers still on strike in the institutional, commercial and industrial construction sectors resumed work following a special back-to-work bill adopted by the national assembly over the weekend. The law extends the current collective agreement by one year to 2014, with a 2% pay raise for workers over that time.
Hadekel: Politics raising Quebec energy costs
(The Gazette) Hydro-Québec has requested a rate increase from the Régie de l’énergie of 2.8 per cent — well above the rate of inflation. The utility attributed the proposed increase to “new electricity purchases.”
Essentially, the government has decided that new and more expensive sources of energy, especially wind power, should be given priority in its energy mix even though Quebec is currently enjoying an energy surplus.
Wind is not nearly as cost effective as hydro power, biomass or thermal electric production from natural gas.
“Quebecers pay literally hundreds of millions of dollars a year to produce electricity from wind turbines that they don’t need,” economist Youri Chassin says in a note published by the Montreal Economic Institute. “This energy is 2.5 times more expensive than hydroelectricity.”
Charbonneau Commission: Inquiry casualties mount
Organized crime, unions remain on agenda
(Montreal Gazette) It has been 20 months since Superior Court Justice France Charbonneau agreed to chair a special commission of inquiry into corruption and collusion in Quebec’s construction industry.
Speaking to the media in fall 2011, then-premier Jean Charest promised that the judge — an experienced prosecutor who famously faced down Quebec’s most dangerous biker-gang leaders and won — would be provided with a healthy budget and “the powers that she believes she needs to do her work.”
She was given until October 2013 to get the job done.
That job, however, proved colossal, and what was originally intended to be a two-year exploratory exercise has morphed into a four-year behemoth slated to end in 2015 that has shaken the foundations of municipal government in Quebec — and will undoubtedly continue to do so in the months to come.
As investigators with the province’s special anti-corruption police unit (UPAC) have toiled in obscurity, Charbonneau has dragged the subjects of their criminal probes into the light, exposing exactly what it is they are suspected of doing. In some ways, the two bodies, whose mandates seem diametrically opposed and who must always be cautious not to step on each other’s toes, have become the perfect dance partners.
Sondage: douche froide pour le gouvernement Marois
(La Presse) L’embellie espérée par les péquistes en fin de session parlementaire n’a pas eu lieu. Véritable douche froide pour le gouvernement, un récent sondage de la maison CROP montre que sept Québécois sur dix désapprouvent le travail du gouvernement Marois depuis les dernières élections.
Kelly McParland: Quebec’s ‘distinct society’ proves to be riddled with corruption disease
Weak, state-led economies are prime breeding ground for corruption as people look for ways to make a buck however they can. Thus we have Quebec, where one of the province’s highest-profile employers is enmeshed in a massive international probe involving bribes, kickbacks and surreptitious favours for foreign autocrats; an official inquiry into corruption in the construction industry turns up daily revelations of collusion, kickbacks and rigged contracts; and Montreal can’t find a mayor able to hold office in the face of police investigations into top-level graft. …
Even now, as the rot becomes more evident and the price of it ever higher, the province is saddled with a government dedicated to the same old sovereigntist obsessions: isolating and afflicting identifiable ethnic groups viewed to be culturally inadequate, whether its Sikhs playing soccer or Jews parking their cars on holy days; seeking out new battles to pick with the anglo community and the federalists; loading on punitive new language rules and restrictions to an already overburdened business community; classifying every issue, from restaurant menus to farm produce through the prism of “sovereignty.
Quebec Construction workers go on strike
(RCI) Construction sites across Quebec were idle Monday (June 17) as thousands of workers went on strike after contract negotiations fell apart on the weekend.
Unions representing more than 175,000 residential, industrial and commercial construction workers say the problem for them was an attempt by the Quebec construction association to change the amount of overtime they would get for extra hours worked. The unions also says they were being asked to agree to a 14-hour day and six-day work week at regular wages.
Lyne Marcoux, the chief negotiator for the provincial construction association, said Saturday that the union was negotiating through the media and intended to send workers into the streets.
No big changes to Bill 14: Marois
Premier Pauline Marois conceded Friday her government tried to do too much too fast in its first nine months in office and rattled Quebecers.
But arguing her government has got public finances under control, corruption on the run, a growing economy and social peace restored, she said she has no qualms about cranking up the identity politics machine next fall.
As for Bill 14, the government’s stalled bill beefing up the French Language Charter, Marois ruled out watering it down when it goes to committee in the fall.
Despite language minister Diane De Courcy publishing an article in The Gazette pledging amendments to the bill, any changes to the bill would be of a “minor and marginal,” nature, Marois said at a news conference wrapping up the spring sitting of the National Assembly.
And the traditional and — in Marois’s case — increasingly rare encounter with the media yielded a kind of mea culpa from the premier, who leads a government that has taken it in the teeth for gaffes, political flip-flops and backpedaling.
“I think we put forward too many projects, too many big projects at the same time without having the time to show what they were about, to explain them, to promote them,” Marois said.
Editorial: Euthanasia bill addresses rights of the terminally ill
It is inevitable and eminently understandable of Quebec’s proposed legislation to allow some terminal patients the right to opt for a medically assisted death is highly controversial.
After all, it involves the ending of a person’s life at the hands of another. It is particularly wrenching for doctors who, under the legislation, would be the agents of ending lives, something squarely opposed to their professional oath that calls on them to do all in their power to preserve and prolong life.
But it is also an issue that has been festering for what is now going on decades, and one that has become ever more pertinent with the aging of Canada’s population, and with baby boomers increasingly preoccupied with the manner of their passing.
The Quebec government’s action in introducing its legislation to enshrine that right is groundbreaking in this country, but hardly precipitous. It follows a diligent study conducted over two years by a special National Assembly committee that heard hundreds of briefs and submitted a unanimous report that is reflected in the bill’s provisions. Furthermore, polls on the subject have shown — and persistently shown — more than 80-per-cent support for what is being proposed.
‘Dying with Dignity’ bill tabled in the province of Quebec, first in Canada(RCI)
“This legislation is intended for people at the end of their life to die with autonomy and dignity,” said Véronique Hivon, the minister responsible for ‘Dying with Dignity’. Hivon is also the Minister of Social Affairs and Youth Protection.
“Our desire is quite simple. We want to make the debate something all of society can engage in. A non-partisan issue,” she said.
“I believe we are capable of holding this debate at this time. Society is ready for it.”
The explanatory notes to the bill outline some of the limits and controls that will be part of the legislation:
Rhéal Séguin: Quebec loses faith as Marois forgoes sovereignty for austerity
“Our objective is clear: It is to make Quebec a country. But first we must get things in order and get our confidence back,” Ms. Marois told party delegates.
The fixation on balancing the budget by March, 2014, has left little room for anything else. With the PQ trailing the Liberals by as much as 14 points, Ms. Marois has launched into permanent pre-election campaign mode. She had been criss-crossing the province, unveiling new investments while trying to undo much of the damage caused by several months of blunders and broken promises. On Friday, the government confirmed that the director of communications, Shirley Bishop, and special adviser Stéphane Gobeil were being replaced.
So far, the Marois record has been one of austerity over sovereignty. There is much unfinished business – the health tax was never completely abolished – and many unexpected moves to reconcile. Welfare payments were reduced to certain young families and older workers. Funding for daycare centres, universities and school boards were cut back. Mining companies lobbied hard and won their case in convincing the government to drop its pledge to double royalties and tone down provisions in the new Mining Act.
The threats to fight Ottawa and reclaim culture, employment insurance and federal venture capital funds have remained nothing more than a bluff. The PQ’s signature legislation to reinforce the French Language Charter is being diluted. The government has announced it is postponing the tabling of a secular charter on religious accommodations.
Social activists and left-leaning sovereigntists have become disillusioned.
Quebec’s sad return to identity politics — The Parti Québécois scapegoats immigrants for electoral gain
by Martin Patriquin
(Maclean’s) The Parti Québécois is starved for support, even amongst its faithful. Bill 14, the party’s much-ballyhooed attempt to raise Quebecers’ collective angst surrounding the French language, was a flop. Sadly for the PQ, Francophones aren’t nearly as anxious about the future of French as they were, say, 20 years ago. So, the party has simply changed scapegoats.
Business extends lukewarm welcome to Marois
Longtime political watcher Bernard St-Laurent blogs about Quebec
Premier Pauline Marois was the keynote speaker at the Conseil du patronat’s annual meeting yesterday.
In her speech Marois took a few predictable shots at the federal government, talked about how well the Montreal economy is doing, and explained how hard it is to make the tough decisions which will produce a balanced budget for Quebec. … she told the business leaders how disappointed she is that they are not embracing her approach.
No one in the audience reacted. What the business community wants to hear from Marois is that her new mining rights and royalties legislation won’t kill an economic sector which is already facing global challenges.
Beryl Wajsman: Can the world trust Quebec?
The whole world is watching as Quebec becomes the first western democratic jurisdiction to unilaterally pull itself out of an international agreement governing civility of society. Bill 14 would also allow expanded search and seizure powers for language inspectors and establishes star-chamber tribunals where anyone can drag a language “offending” corporation to appear, failure to comply resulting in heavy fines and contempt citations. The Bill also allows inspectors to get a court judgment without notice to an “offender.” Another first that would make Quebec the only western jurisdiction to ignore the thousand-year-old twin rights of an “offender” to both face his accuser and receive notice of a prosecution. These are the very kinds of breaches of the rule of law that fright capital is fleeing from.
It is about respect for the international rule of law and the continuity of Quebec governments honoring Quebec’s international agreements. If Quebec won’t honor human rights agreements, what is to stop it from disavowing Quebec’s word on international commercial agreements or respecting the rules of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade or decisions of the World Trade Organization. Investing in a jurisdiction where commitments are just “semantics” does not inspire confidence in the investment community.
The world is awash in fright capital. Money looking for safe havens from jurisdictions where the rule of law means nothing and the word of the state even less.
Quebec’s Marceau Affirms 2013-14 Budget Balance
(Bloomberg) Quebec Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau today affirmed his earlier forecast that the province will post a C$1.5 billion ($1.5 billion) deficit in the fiscal year that ends March 31 and balance its books in fiscal 2014.
Adam Daifallah summarizes: The minister seemed little worried by these losses in revenue because, he said, they will be offset by low interest rates, higher equalization payments from the federal government and the use of existing contingency funds. and Tony Deutsch comments: Research project I would like someone else to undertake; compare the Quebec statement with the last one or two by the Greek Minister of Finance before all hell broke loose in Athens.
‘What rights will we recognize?’: Jacques Parizeau muses on anglo rights in an independent Quebec at sovereignist rally
Federal constitutional guarantees on the use of English in Quebec “will disappear” with an independent Quebec, Jacques Parizeau said Saturday, urging the sovereignist Option Nationale party to both consider and decide what would replace them.
Graeme Hamilton: Skeptics question minister’s attempts to make nice with English Quebec
Mr. Lisée calls his job thankless, and it is true that Quebec’s language hawks are not showering him with praise. In the Journal de Montréal last weekend, Mr. Parizeau mocked Mr. Lisée for his openness to English and called the minister’s suggestion that some Montreal transit workers be required to speak English a loss of direction. Language activist Mario Beaulieu called Mr. Lisée’s transit suggestion “totally irresponsible.”
But Mr. Lisée said his party supports his rapprochement effort, and ultimately it will do the sovereigntist cause good, even if it does not win a single Yes vote.
“I am doing this, first because I think it’s the right thing to do, period,” he said. “Doing the right thing is also a signal you’re sending of what kind of sovereign country you want to have. The sovereign country I want to have is one in which anglo Quebecers, most of whom will have voted No, will stay, participate in the success of Quebec and be secure in the fact that they have a future here, because here is their home.”
The language debate is back: Some Anglos plan to fight PQ’s Bill 14
Bilingual municipalities fear they will lose their status and small businesses fear tough new restrictions. Quebec’s Anglophones are on edge and opposition is growing to the Parti Quebecois’ proposed revamp of language laws. After a large protest in downtown Montreal on Sunday, an intense campaign is being mounted to warn Quebecers about Bill 14.
Bill 14 rally – will it make a difference? – Evening News – Videos | Global Montreal
Many consider the rally against the Parti Quebecois’ controversial Bill 14 on Sunday a success – but will it make a difference to those who decide whether the Bill passes at Quebec’s National Assembly?
Rally against Bill 14 features some prominent names from the past
A rally planned for Sunday and featuring some of the most prominent anglophone rights activists of yesteryear has some observers wondering whether language politics in Quebec have gone back to the future.
The rally, to protest against Bill 14 — the Parti Québécois government’s reform of the Charter of the French Language — will take place outside Premier Pauline Marois’s office downtown at noon.
According to the press release, the speakers include Darryl Gray — one-time president of Alliance Quebec — and the “honourable attendees” are Brent Tyler, best known for his many court challenges of Bill 101 and who also ran unsuccessfully for the Equality Party in 1994, and Keith Henderson, a former leader of the Equality Party.
This headline from the Daily Mail brought some interesting comments from Wednesday Nighters who wonder how many Quebec would have to renegotiate? Go-it-alone Scotland ‘would be brand new country forced out of 14,000 treaties and have to renegotiate membership of the EU from scratch’ Tony Deutsch points to US-Canada Free Trade, among many. Tom Haslam-Jones cites the Quebec aerospace industry [where] there would be chaos, because a whole, internationally negotiated, structure for the certification of products would be needed. In 1995 the headquarters of Pratt & Whitney Canada would probably have instantly transferred to their Mississauga, Ontario plant in order to be able to use the existing certification capabilities of Transport Canada. The same would apply to Bombardier and Bell Helicopter as well as component suppliers.
Marois leads PQ on new bid to promote sovereignty
The Parti Québécois is launching a new sovereignty offensive, saying that the social and financial risks for the province are too high for it to remain in Canada.
Many of the arguments are similar to those the PQ has used in previous campaigns to promote sovereignty. What is different this time, according to Premier Pauline Marois, is that the federal government’s economic and social policies have further isolated Quebec within the federation, creating havoc for the province’s economy.
Canada, she insisted, poses a “risk” to Quebec’s French language, its social values and its ability to speak freely on the international stage. A combination of costly overlapping services, opposing views with Ottawa on issues such as gun control and the total disregard by the Harper government for Quebec’s unemployed and economic needs has demonstrated sovereignty to be more urgent than ever, the PQ Leader insisted. “To remain a part of Canada is the assurance that Quebec will be perpetually confronted with failures,” Ms. Marois said.
Jonathan Kay: With the claim of ‘soft ethnocide,’ Quebec’s separatists reach a pathetic new low
… From the point of view of the rest of Canada, the biggest turn-off about Quebec separatism these days isn’t the fact that something like a quarter or a third of Quebecers want to leave Canada — it’s the sad, crabby, passive-aggressive nature of the whole project.
From the top of Mont-Tremblant to the boardwalk on Hallandale Beach, one of Quebec’s claims to “distinct” society status is its flair and joie-de-vivre. Instead, we get a bunch of sour-faced mandarins snooping through municipal newsletters and workplace bulletin boards for English phrases. Who wants to start a new country with a bunch of pouters and professional victims? [emphasis added]
Good riddance, Saskatchewan Premier says after Quebec leaves provincial health group
(Globe & Mail) “As of late, Quebec has been more of a distraction at this table than a constructive partner,” Wall said Tuesday in an email released to The Canadian Press by his office. “We have been making significant progress in areas like joint purchase of generic drugs, sharing best practices, bending health-care cost curves and improving patient care without a lot of input from Quebec.”
The health group’s goal is to look at better ways to deliver health care and keep it sustainable.
Last month, Wall announced the provinces would bulk buy six widely used generic drugs. He suggested the initiative could save provincial and territorial drug plans up to $100 million once it is fully implemented. Quebec was the only province to say it would not take part.
Mme Marois Making Mischief in Scotland? Not much according to La Presse: Le gouvernement minimise la visite. «Il s’agit d’une rencontre de courtoisie, une des nombreuses selon ma compréhension qu’il aura aujourd’hui», a répondu par courriel un porte-parole du gouvernement du Scottish National Party. Aucun point de presse conjoint n’a été organisé. Fait inusité, le cabinet de M. Salmond refuse même que les médias prennent des images de la rencontre.
Pauline Marois rassure les investisseurs à Davos
La première ministre a estimé par ailleurs qu’il faudrait en faire plus pour le Mali
(Le Devoir) La première ministre se félicite notamment de la conclusion d’une entente de principe entre le géant de l’aéronautique Boeing et l’entreprise québécoise de Dollard-des-Ormeaux RSW [Rousseau Sauvé Warren] RER [Renewable Energy Research]. Cette dernière fabriquera au Québec des équipements destinées à l’exportation et servant à l’assemblage de turbines qui produisent de l’électricité au fil de l’eau. «Dans les semaines qui viennent, j’aurai l’occasion de faire état exactement de cette entente de principe et de la contribution qu’apporte le gouvernement», dit Pauline Marois. La première ministre parle d’un «très gros projet d’investissements […] qui va amener des investissements importants au Québec». Parmi les entreprises dont les dirigeants ont aussi été rencontrés à Davos, citons Ubisoft, Volvo et Ericsson.
Un mouvement nationaliste conservateur est créé
(La Presse) Alors que des groupes indépendantistes demandent au Parti québécois de s’allier à Québec solidaire et Option nationale, un mouvement naît pour rappeler que la question nationale ne doit pas être confondue avec la gauche. Génération nationale veut défendre une vision plus conservatrice du nationalisme. «On ne veut pas nuire à l’unité des forces souverainistes. Nous n’y sommes pas du tout opposés. Ce qu’on dit, c’est d’être prudent avec les conditions d’une telle alliance. Le projet de pays doit être la priorité. Il ne doit pas dépendre d’une vision de gauche»,
Jean Charest joins Montreal law firm
(CTV) Jean Charest has found a job. The longtime former Quebec premier is now an associate at the McCarthy Tétrault law firm in Montreal.
Charest, according to the company’s website, will provide strategic advice to domestic and international clients at the firm which bills itself as Canada’s largest litigation and business law firm.
Charest will participate in endeavors related to the United States, Europe, China, India, Africa and Latin America. He will mainly advise clients on mergers and acquisitions.
Among the other former Quebec Liberal Party members at the firm are former premier Daniel Johnson and firm Chairman and CEO, Marc-André Blanchard, a former president of the provincial Liberals.
Canadian political leaders that returned to practicing law after leaving politics include Brian Mulroney (Norton Rose), Lucien Bouchard (Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg), Jean Chrétien (Heenan Blaikie) and Pierre Marc Johnson (Heenan Blaikie).
Language at heart of Lachine Hospital oversight dispute
(CTV) It appears the McGill University Health Centre will lose its jurisdiction over the Lachine hospital because the Parti Quebecois government is concerned about the language used by those running the institution.
CTV has obtained a copy of a letter from Quebec’s Health Minister Rejean Hebert, and in that letter the minister wrote that Lachine Hospital, a francophone institution, could see its management transferred to a community health network.
An alternative view from the World Socialist Web Site
Parti Québécois’ education summit—a mechanism for imposing tuition fee hikes and spending cuts
Celine Cooper: School party testifies to French vitality
(The Gazette) … And while people and languages have always moved around the world for various reasons (let’s remember that French and English migration to, and colonization of, North America are why we are having this conversation right now), the astonishing scale, scope and speed with which such movement takes place today, as a result of new communication and transportation technologies, have fundamentally affected our day-to-day lives in many ways. There is something newly significant about how increased globalization has altered the interactions of people both across and within what we have come to understand as immovable, “national” boundaries drawn by men onto maps.
The presence and vitality of French language and culture are absolutely a defining feature of Quebec. It is an important part of our history. But to ignore the interplay of this history with the larger global processes that have shaped and continue to shape Quebec society risks de-historicizing what we are experiencing in our daily lives today.
Doubts surround summit on higher education
Government seeks $124 million in cuts and fee hike for international students
(McGill Daily) Students and university administrators from across the province are growing increasingly skeptical of the government’s upcoming summit on higher education, accusing the Parti Québecois (PQ) of determining the outcome of the summit in advance.
Despite promises of further investments, Minister of Higher Education Pierre Duchesne asked universities on Tuesday to find $124 million in cuts by the end of the year.
In an interview with Radio-Canada on Wednesday, Rector of Université Laval Denis Brière criticized the government for reneging on its commitments.
“Those [cuts] go against the fundamental rules that the government created for the holding of this summit, which was supposed to establish a consensus,” he said in French.
His message was echoed on Friday in an email from Principal Heather Munroe-Blum to members of the McGill community, which described the cuts as “short-sighted” and claimed that they “threaten the very future of Quebec.”
Opposition slams PQ government for ‘lack of vision’
Marois government’s first session comes to an end
(CBC) Opposition parties slammed the Parti Québécois government for being “disconnected from reality” and for failing to take tough enough measures to curb corruption, as the government went into winter recess Friday following a jam-packed first legislative session.
Both the Liberals and the Coalition Avenir Québec party gave the government a failing grade on its handling of the economy and criticized Marois for backtracking on electoral promises, that she was never in a financial position to keep.
Redevances minières: un rapport secret gênant pour le PQ
(La Presse) Le gouvernement Marois garde secrète une étude réalisée par PricewaterhouseCoopers sur le régime de redevances imposé à l’industrie minière. Et pour cause: l’étude, commandée par le ministère des Finances, conclut que le système mis en place par le gouvernement Charest est meilleur que celui que proposait le Parti québécois en campagne électorale.
Chantal Hébert: Separatist PQ victory has produced unexpected boost for federalists
One hundred days into a new sovereigntist mandate, the province is undergoing . . . a federalist revival.
Based on past experience there did not lack for dire election night predictions last September of major frictions to come on the federal-provincial and language fronts as Marois implemented what she describes as “sovereigntist governance.”
The last two times the Parti Québécois came to power in the late 1970s and the mid-1990s, Quebec federalists tried to fight fire with fire by engaging in a nationalist bidding war with the ruling sovereigntist party.
That is not happening this time around. Indeed, against the most common expectations, Pauline Marois’ narrow election victory seems to have emboldened the main opposition parties into affirming their non-sovereigntist credentials rather than the opposite.
If anything, it is the sovereigntist governance that has gone missing in action.
Earlier this week, a bid to remove the Canadian flag from the perimeter of the National Assembly was lost by 12 votes with the Liberals and the Coalition Avenir Québec uniting to defeat the proposal.
The same week, a mouse of a new draft language law came out of the mountain of PQ campaign promises; it is not even clear that this diluted version of the party platform will pass muster in the minority setting of the national assembly.
Quebec moves forward on provincial firearm registry
Quebec is moving forward on plans to create its own version of the former federal long-gun registry.
In light of the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, the Parti Québécois has announced the government will move forward with a bill to mandate the registration of firearms without restrictions. The provincial registry will be implemented as soon as Quebec can obtain the necessary data from the Canadian Firearms Registry.
The federal long-gun registry was created by the Liberal Party in 1995, in the wake of the Dec. 6, 1989, massacre at Montreal’s École Polytechnique, in which 14 women were singled out because of their gender and killed by a gunman.
Andre Boisclair gives up second job; will remain delegate-general for New York
(CTV) Under fire for awarding two lucrative jobs to a former Parti Quebecois leader, Pauline Marois has officially stripped Andre Boisclair of one of his posts.
In November Marois appointed Boisclair as delegate-general to New York, but it was only revealed this week that Boisclair had also been named assistant deputy minister for International Relations.
On Thursday Marois held a snap news conference to announce that Boisclair was giving up the civil servant position.
Marois also said she is taking action to prevent situations like this from reoccuring.
“I decided to create a committee. This committee will study the conditions that will be present for people who want to work in the civil service.” Oh, goody, another committee
Marois gives former PQ leader ‘job for life’
Opposition livid André Boisclair gets not one, but two, plum postings
… International Relations Minister Jean-François Lisée acknowledged it is the first time a Quebec government representative outside the province has double-dipped in such a way.
Quebec Environment minister resigns from cabinet — Daniel Breton faced fines for late tax returns (Canadian Press via The Star) An environmental activist who railed against Alberta’s oilsands has been forced to resign from his Quebec cabinet position following reports of alleged ethical transgressions.
Daniel Breton’s transformation from activist to environment minister lasted less than two months. His departure Thursday removed one of the most ardent left-wing voices from a Parti Québécois cabinet that has recently veered toward the centre.
Restaurants oppose raise in alcohol tax
(Westmount Examiner) The Quebec government’s decision to retroactively increase taxes on alcohol as part of the 2013 budget will hurt the already struggling restaurant industry, Westmount owners say.
Quebec government targets workplace with language bill
Bilingualism on the rise, language watchdog says
(CBC) Quebec’s Language Minister Diane De Courcy said the PQ government is moving full steam ahead with changes to Bill 101 before the holidays.
“It’s clear that we will talk about workplace language when we table the Bill,” said De Courcy.
She said the new provisions will restrict the use of English in the workplace.
PQ plans to protect corporations from hostile foreign-takeover bids
(Globe & Mail) The Parti Québécois government plans to bring in legislation making it tougher for Quebec companies to become targets of hostile foreign-takeover bids, fulfilling an election promise from the summer’s election campaign.
Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau told reporters in Montreal on Friday the bill would give the board of directors of publicly traded companies the authority to examine the impact of a hostile takeover bid on workers, retirees and suppliers and take into account their interests.
Norton Rose: Highlights of the Quebec budget
On November 20, 2012, Nicolas Marceau, Quebec Minister of Finance, tabled his government’s first budget. This legal update summarizes the principal measures proposed. Note that most of these measures must be enacted by the National Assembly before coming into force.
Budget Marceau: des réactions partagées
(Le Devoir) Les Québécois devraient constater une amélioration de certains services en santé mais ils pourraient aussi avoir plus de difficultés à joindre les deux bouts après le dépôt du budget Marceau mardi, ont indiqué différents intervenants.
Le milieu des affaires, quant à lui, semble y trouver son compte même si certaines préoccupations persistent.
Les libéraux vont laisser passer le budget, dit Fournier
Le chef intérimaire Jean-Marc Fournier a déclaré mardi qu’il serait irresponsable de plonger le Québec dans une campagne électorale, si peu de temps après l’élection.
PQ targets corrupt politicians with Bill 10
Opposition parties support anti-corruption bill
Bill 10 would allow a judge to order any mayor or councillor to be suspended with pay if they face a criminal charge that could lead to a sentence in a federal prison.
The mayor of Mascouche Richard Marcotte is the only elected official who would be directly affected by the proposed bill at the moment.
But Coalition Avenir Québec leader François Legault said this bill will target more people than Marcotte.
“Right now, it applies only to him, but I think with what we see every week at the Charbonneau commission, I expect that we may have other cases. We were close to having one in Laval,” said Legault.
PQ sets date for education summit, Quebec students continue fight against austerity agenda for education
(rabble.ca) … In this supposed spirit of openness, the PQ continue to promise that “nothing will be off the table,” while simultaneously making clear that the concept of free education is most certainly off the table.
In order to ensure “constructive debate”, the summit will be preceded by a long period of reflection and consultation on four central themes: quality of teaching, accessibility and participation, governance and financing of universities and the contribution of research institutions to the development of Quebec.
Former ASSE executive Keena Gregoire told rabble.ca that he “wouldn’t be surprised if the PQ accept a tuition freeze, because they have little to gain from fighting for indexation. But for me the more troublesome aspect is the attempt to impose ‘quality control’ and further commodify education.”
Nationalists, sovereigntists face off at Montreal rally
A dozen Montreal police officers formed a human wall to separate a group of anglophone rights activists and a group of Quebec sovereigntists, as they verbally attacked each other.
The confrontation erupted Sunday afternoon in downtown Montreal, after a group of Quebec sovereignists showed up to a rally for Canadian unity planned for 1 p.m. at Place du Canada.
The rally was held to oppose the newly elected provincial government’s decision to remove the Canadian flag from the National Assembly.
Hundreds rally against anti-anglo discrimination
(CJAD) “When you have a government that seeks to demonize, and marginalize and wins an election on messages of nullification, on metaphors of segregation, they have a responsibility for causing the worst of us, the most frustrated of us, to beat up a teenage kid in St. Leonard,” Suburban editor-in-chief Beryl Wajsman told the crowd. “They have a responsibility for the ticket-takers that get a customer into a headlock. They have a responsibility for a paramedic that will not speak English”
PQ Inaugural Speech Leads Opposition Parties To Raise Prospect Of Toppling Government
(Canadian Press via HuffPost) The Parti Quebecois delivered a relatively mild inaugural speech but it wasn’t enough to gain the support of the provincial legislature, as opposition parties Wednesday raised the prospect of immediately toppling the minority government.
No sooner had Premier Pauline Marois delivered her opening address — a confidence matter — than the two biggest opposition parties signalled that they would vote against it.
That opened the door to at least four potential outcomes: A compromise with one opposition party to keep the PQ minority afloat. A few opposition abstentions during the vote. A chance for the Opposition Liberals, who are currently leaderless, to seek the confidence of the legislature. And a snap election.
Quebec Language Policies: English Skills Shouldn’t Be A Job Requirement Says Minister Diane De Courcy
(Canadian Press via HuffPost) She says Premier Pauline Marois will outline new language policies when the legislature opens Wednesday.
The Parti Quebecois campaigned in the last election on a promise to tighten Quebec’s Charter of the French Language and expand the use of French at work.
It’s expected to create new restrictions on who can attend English-language junior colleges, and also extend language laws to smaller businesses. It’s unclear which of the language policies will be adopted by the legislature, however, as the PQ has only a minority government.
Tough road ahead for Parti Quebecois minority government as fall session begins – appropriately on Halloween
The PQ, which holds a slim minority in Quebec’s legislature, wants to move forward with a political agenda that includes a controversial new language law.
But given its tenuous hold on power, with only 54 of the province’s 125 seats, how much can the PQ get done? And how long will the government last?
No mandate! A prejudiced, “not-ready-for-prime-time” government
By Beryl Wajsman
(The Metropolitain) One thing is clear from the narrow election result in Quebec – it gave the PQ no mandate for any of its radical agenda. It was to be hoped that we could take Pauline Marois at her word that she not only respected, but understood the will of the people. However, from the inflammatory rhetoric, the sparking of new language friction and the irresponsible fiscal policies it was perhaps too much to hope for.The only sign of hope are the endless flipflops and reining in of her Ministers that she has done.
Two-thirds of Quebecers – anglophones, allophones and francophones – voted for the federalist, free-market alternatives. Mme. Marois must take that into account and we all must hold her accountable.
Quebecers gave her no mandate to hold a referendum.
No mandate for the Identity Act creating two classes of citizens
No mandate for any extension of Bill 101.
No mandate for her draconian increases in personal and corporate tax rate.
Enfants de ministres à l’école privée — Incohérence péquiste
En envoyant ses enfants à l’école privée, le ministre de l’Enseignement supérieur, Pierre Duchesne, contredit les principes défendus publiquement par le gouvernement Marois.
«Je crois qu’un ministre de la Santé a le devoir d’être exemplaire. Comme pour moi, un ministre de l’Éducation a le devoir d’être exemplaire (et doit) envoyer ses enfants à l’école publique», avait lancé Pauline Marois en campagne électorale, au mois d’août dernier.
PQ Education Minister wants less English, more sovereignty
PQ under fire after minister calls English a ‘foreign language’
The Parti Quebecois’ attacks on the English language are a sign of intolerance and desperation, say critics.
Education Minister Marie Malavoy suggested cutting back on English classes for first-grade French students. She also floated the idea of scaling back intensive English courses taught to Grade 6 students in French schools. … “My party is very critical towards the idea of introducing a foreign language while (children) are beginning to master concepts, grammar, syntax and vocabulary in their mother tongue,” she told Quebec City’s Le Soleil newspaper this week.
Denis Lessard: Québec n’abolira pas la taxe santé
(La Presse) Malgré son engagement électoral, le gouvernement Marois n’abolira pas la fameuse «taxe santé» instaurée par les libéraux. Mais il fera disparaître ce qui la rendait inacceptable à ses yeux: la taxe deviendra progressive. Ainsi, les contribuables à bas revenus n’auront à payer que quelques dollars au lieu des 200$ prévus à l’origine.
“L’amour” entre Francos et Anglos, ça suffit
(Le blogue de Lise Ravary) “CEGEP is important for linguistic transfer. It is the time when young people make lasting friendships, find a marriage partner, start a job. We want that to happen in French.” – Jean-François Lisée
Traduction libre: Le cégep est important en terme de transfert linguistique. C’est un moment de la vie pendant lequel les jeunes établissent des amitiés durables, trouvent un partenaire pour se marier, commencent à travailler. Nous voulons que cela se passe en français.
SNC-Lavalin veut opérer Gentilly-2
SNC-Lavalin croit que le gouvernement péquiste n’a pas étudié toutes les options avant de prendre la décision de fermer la centrale nucléaire Gentilly-2. « Nous espérons que le gouvernement reverra sa décision et s’engagera à dialoguer sur cette question, considérant que ce modèle de bail a été utilisé avec succès en France, en Ontario et aux États-Unis », a déclaré Kevin Wallace, président-directeur général de Candu Énergie.
Martin Coiteux: Les cinq non-dits de la proposition péquiste d’abolition de la taxe santé
Le gouvernement minoritaire de Pauline Marois a pratiquement fait l’unanimité contre lui en proposant de financer l’abolition immédiate de la taxe santé par des hausses d’impôt rétroactives affectant des catégories ciblées de Québécois.
La plupart des critiques ont porté sur le caractère en soi ignoble de la rétroactivité ainsi que sur la malhonnêteté dont a fait preuve le Parti québécois en campagne électorale, lui qui n’a pas daigné révéler ses intentions réelles aux électeurs.
Toutefois, même si le gouvernement devait reculer sur la forme (la rétroactivité), il ne faudrait pas moins critiquer ses intentions sur le fonds.
Hausse d’impôts rétroactive: des péquistes renversés
Des élus du Parti québécois (PQ) ont été renversés d’apprendre que la hausse des impôts compensant l’abolition de la taxe santé serait «rétroactive», selon des informations du Soleil.
PLQ: Raymond Bachand sera de la course
La hausse d’impôt rétroactive prévue sous peu par le gouvernement Marois est la goutte qui a fait déborder le vase pour Raymond Bachand. À moins d’une surprise de taille, il briguera la direction du Parti libéral du Québec.
Selon l’ex-ministre des Finances, le gouvernement Marois, en annonçant sans prévenir un tel changement fiscal, est «soit hypocrite, soit incompétent».
Chose certaine, le débat qui se cristallisera clairement autour des décisions fiscales du gouvernement péquiste vient donner de l’eau au moulin à ce candidat au profil économique. «Avec ce que vient d’annoncer Mme Marois, ce serait surprenant que je ne me lance pas dans la course», a soutenu M. Bachand. Il a d’ailleurs passé une bonne partie de la journée d’hier en réunion avec son organisation.
(CJAD) Bachand critical of PQ’s tax hike plans
Henry Aubin: Jean-François Lisée deserves chance to perform
New PQ minister Lisée reaches out to anglophones
(Hazette via Ottawa Citizen) ‘Make them feel that they constitute a richness for us all and that they are full members of the Quebec nation,’ Marois instructs him
Philippe Authier: Jean-François Lisée wants Quebec anglophones to start feeling the love.
In his first comments after Premier Pauline Marois named him cabinet minister responsible for Montreal and the anglophone community, Lisée said he wants to establish a new dialogue with the minority.
Yes, he said, the French language has to be secure, but that doesn’t have to come to the “detriment of the linguistic security of anglophones.”
It all starts by finding a “modus vivendi,” so each community makes gains at the same time, he argued.
Lisée made the surprisingly candid remarks to reporters shortly after Marois — in her second overture to the community after her election night hand of friendship — asked him to take on a job that not many in the Parti Québécois would cherish.
Officially, Lisée, a former journalist and backroom adviser to Jacques Parizeau and Lucien Bouchard, gets the international relations and foreign trade portfolio.
But Marois also handed Lisée responsibility for Montreal, with a mandate to build connections with all the politicians and citizens including anglophones.
Lucien Bouchard not pleased with PQ over its apparent hostility
(CBC) The new Parti Québécois government is earning some unflattering reviews from one of its former leaders even before completing its first half-week in office.
Lucien Bouchard issued a statement Friday condemning comments about shale gas made by the new PQ minister in charge of the industry.
While an environmental review process is only barely underway, Natural Resources Minister Martine Ouellet has already said the resource can never be developed safely. Before entering politics, Ouellet was an environmental activist, mechanical engineer, and official at Hydro-Québec.
She can now add another line to her CV: Bouchard foe. A popular former leader of the PQ and premier from 1996 to 2001, Bouchard is now the president of the Quebec Oil and Gas Association.
Beryl Wajsman: Marois and a day of destruction
So, in this, her first full day in office, Mme. Marois has managed to add a billion dollars of debt onto the treasury that we will have to make up by cancelling the meager tuition hikes and the health tax; stifled future sources of energy revenues and made limiting the costs of hydro impossible by putting a permanent moratorium on shale gas development and closing the Gentilly 2 nuclear power plan and allowed her Public Security Minister Stéphane Bergeron to suggest a public inquiry into the conduct of the Montreal police – yes the police, not the marchers – during the student riots that have already cost Montreal taxpayers some $12 million. In this last act, she may have sown the seeds of her downfall even before the March budget.
Marceau cherche à rassurer le milieu des affaires
Le ministre des Finances et de l’Économie, Nicolas Marceau, cherche à rassurer le milieu des affaires, inquiets depuis l’élection du Parti québécois.
Jeudi, au lendemain de sa nomination, M. Marceau a déclaré qu’il travaillera «sans relâche» pour faire en sorte que les entreprises «embauchent, investissent, innovent». «Que le milieu des affaires se rassure : ça fait partie des choses qui me préoccupent», a-t-il affirmé juste avant la première réunion du Conseil des ministres du gouvernement Marois. Cabinet Marois: les nouveaux vis-à-vis de Québec inc.
Graeme Hamilton: Marois’ swearing-in ceremony becomes a sovereigntist farce
Freshly sworn in as Quebec Premier, Pauline Marois expressed her “firm conviction” that Quebec’s future is as a sovereign country. “A normal country that makes all its laws, decides for itself how to use its taxes and speaks with its own voice in the world,” she said Wednesday.
The PQ hoped that by provoking battles with Ottawa, it could fuel dissatisfaction with the federation among Quebecers. But with a minority government, the Marois government will be unable to enact one of the tools it hoped to employ — citizen-initiated referendums. The Liberals and Coalition Avenir Quebec oppose the idea, and Ms. Marois did not even mention the referendums in her speech Wednesday. She simply told the new Minister of Democratic Institutions, Bernard Drainville, to “propose mechanisms allowing for increased citizen participation.”
With its big projects stymied, the PQ has to fall back on petty but ultimately insignificant gestures. The Canadian flag may be stashed, the lieutenant governor may be persona non grata, but this is a “sovereigntist government” in Ms. Marois’ imagination only.
A very cleverly executed hoax that took in many people (us included initially, although we questioned the excellent quality of English), which would indicate just how nervous a number of people are. The real government website www.immigration-quebec.gouv.qc.ca/fr/informations/apprendre-quebec/index.html is indeed not only bilingual, but multilingual.
“This guide is for persons who are newcomers to Québec. It has not been translated, to reflect the fact that French is the official language of Québec and to underscore the importance of learning French in order to communicate effectively in day-to-day life, and in order to work or study in the official language, practice a profession, do business, or participate in the cultural, civic and social life of Québec. You can consult the guide in its French version.” Settling in Quebec – Services Québec
AND FOR BUSINESSES
The Businesses area of the Government services portal has been refurbished, with a major re-organization of content, interfaces and navigation structure.
To provide you with information that is essential to your business projects, two sections, “Export trade” and “Invest in Québec”, have been translated into English, in accordance with the Charter of the French language. We hope you will find these sections useful.
The other business sections are available only in French.
Canadian flag removed from Quebec National Assembly
As some Quebec politicians were sworn in as Members of the National Assembly on Monday, one item was noticeably absent from the proceedings: the Canadian flag.
According to reporters who attended the swearing-in, the flag had been removed from the National Assembly. The Maple Leaf had been on display during Jean Charest’s nine years as premier.
Although the Canadian flag did not fly during the ceremony, Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois, who will officially become premier on Wednesday, did pledge allegiance to the Queen, and to the people of Quebec.
Political commentator and former Liberal MP Jean Lapierre said Monday the Maple Leaf’s absence marks the beginning of “probably a lot of confrontation” with the federal government.
Don Macpherson: Don’t expect post-election honeymoon between new PQ government, non-franco voters
Newly elected governments are usually entitled to a post-election honeymoon with voters. But results of the Léger Marketing post-election poll suggest that any marriage between the Parti Québécois minority government elected in last Tuesday’s Quebec election and non-francophones is off to a rocky start.
Global News | Quebec court to feds: Hand over gun registry data
Quebec has won the latest stage in its legal battle against the federal government to keep long-gun registry data for the province.
Justice Marc-Andre Blanchard of the Quebec Superior Court sided with the province Monday and ordered the federal government to hand over the information.
It’s just one more step in the battle over what to do with the remnants of the now-defunct federal gun registry – a fight that could end up before the Supreme Court of Canada. Within moments of the decision, the federal government all but announced plans to appeal.
Quebecers want PQ’s Pauline Marois to ease tensions: poll
Call to meet anglos comes from all linguistic groups
Three-quarters of Quebecers say premier-elect Pauline Marois should meet with English-speaking leaders as soon as possible to calm a rise in language tensions in the wake of the provincial election, according to a poll by Léger Marketing.
Francophones and allophones are almost as vehement in calling for a speedy meeting with the anglophone community (73 per cent) as anglophones (79 per cent), indicates the post-election poll for The Gazette, Le Devoir, the Quebec Community Groups Network and the Association for Canadian Studies.
“Marois should go for a walk on Monkland Ave. and talk with anglophones,” said Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies.
“This is about actually interacting with anglophones, which she didn’t do during the campaign,” he added.
Marois declares PQ priorities as Charest resigns
Tuition hike and Bill 78 will be repealed, Quebec’s premier-designate announces
(CBC) Other priorities she outlined include passing legislation to exclude construction companies that have been convicted of offences from getting government contracts, and expanding the province’s subsidized daycare until there’s a spot for every child who needs one.