Québec 2018

Written by  //  November 29, 2018  //  Québec  //  1 Comment

Legault Year One: How the CAQ has transformed Quebec so far
Quebec’s new political reality will be closely watched ahead of this fall′s federal election, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau runs for re-election with his provincial Liberal counterparts in a greatly weakened state, and the federal Conservatives hoping for a potential ally in Mr. Legault. (Updated 16 June 2019)

Quebec Votes 2018 Poll Tracker
Maintained by CBC poll analyst Éric Grenier,
the Poll Tracker aggregates all publicly available polling data to follow the trends of the October 1st election.
The Quebec Election: A Primer
(Policy) Anyone who has ever covered Quebec politics knows that its byzantine loyalties, grudges, affiliations and hidden agendas can take years to decode. Luckily for our readers, veteran journalist and author of several books on Quebec politics Graham Fraser, having recently retired as federal Official Languages Commissioner, is free to provide his insight and expertise.

29 November
Quebec’s high school history books should be taken out of classrooms, independent review says
Quebec’s high school history textbooks fail to adequately tell the story of the province’s minorities and Indigenous population and should be pulled from classrooms, according to an independent review commissioned by the English Montreal School Board.
The review, conducted by three historians, concludes the textbooks, used to teach students in Secondary 3 and 4, cannot be “salvaged” through minor changes.
Quebec has no plans to change history curriculum despite scathing review
“The only logical academic and pedagogical conclusion is that all of these books be withdrawn so that a more appropriate set of student books may be written and used by students,” the 30-page report concludes.
The report, obtained by CBC News, was commissioned by the EMSB after teachers and activists raised concerns about its content when it was first piloted in 2015-16. The report was first obtained by The Canadian Press. It suggests allowing the textbooks to be used until June 2021, when they can be replaced with a more “inclusive” document that reflects Quebec’s diversity. It was presented to EMSB board members on Wednesday.

7 November
Bernard Landry, left, shakes hands with Jacques Parizeau, right, as Lucien Bouchard looks on during a ceremony of the Ordre national du Québéc on June 19, 2008, at the Quebec Legislature. During the 1995 Quebec referendum, Mr. Landry played arbiter between these two rivals and without his intervention, what is known as the virage that saw Mr. Bouchard replace Mr. Parizeau as the leader of the Yes campaign might never have happened.JACQUES BOISSINOT/The Canadian Press
Quebec loses its greatest patriot
By Konrad Yakabuski
(Globe & Mail) Mr. Landry, who died on Tuesday at 81, may well be recorded in the history books as a former Parti Québécois premier. But he made his biggest mark as a steady sovereigntist foot soldier under Mr. Parizeau in the run-up to the 1995 referendum and as Mr. Bouchard’s economic minister-of-everything in the postreferendum years leading up to his own 2001-03 premiership.
Learned doesn’t begin to describe him. He was among the last generation of Quebec politicians to come up through the province’s strict collèges classiques and he was a model of intellectual discipline. He didn’t need talking points and would look down on any politician who did. He sprinkled his sentences with Latin phrases that many considered eccentric, but which revealed his depth of thinking.
Mr. Bouchard may have been a brilliant orator, but even sovereigntist diehards understood he was acting most of the time. Mr. Parizeau may have had the undying loyalty of the PQ base, but Yes strategists knew he was far too unpredictable to win over soft nationalists. Mr. Landry was the real deal. There was nothing remotely plastic about Mr. Landry. Unlike Mr. Bouchard, he believed in Quebec sovereignty with all his heart. But unlike Mr. Parizeau, he was not reckless going about it.
Mr. Landry clashed endlessly with sovereigntists on the left who envisioned a separate Quebec as a social-democratic paradise. For Mr. Landry, Quebec independence was conditional on its financial viability and, as finance minister under Mr. Bouchard, his first priority was balancing the books. He did that, and cut taxes, too. Instead of praise, it earned him the neo-liberal label and the enmity of many in his own party.
By the time Mr. Landry became premier in 2001, taking over from a disenchanted Mr. Bouchard, the sovereignty movement was clearly losing steam. Mr. Landry lost the 2003 election to Jean Charest’s Liberals. But before that, he had set an example for politicians across Canada by striking a deal with the Cree First Nation for resource development on their territory.
Bernard Landry to be honoured with state funeral
Tributes poured in Tuesday for the former Quebec premier, who died at the age of 81. As Marie-Eve Doyon wrote: Le décès de Bernard Landry marque la fin d’une époque. Celle de la dualité indépendantisme – fédéralisme, mais aussi celle des convictions inébranlables et des allégeances tatouées sur le cœur.
Thanks to David Jones, we entertained M. Landry at 33 Rosemount for a very intimate drinks & chat when David & Terry were visiting us. I had dreaded the occasion, but was utterly charmed by M. Landry and, subsequently, David & I enjoyed a number of friendly encounters with him at events.

18 October
François Legault sworn in as premier, unveils cabinet
(Global) CAQ MNA Genviève Guilbault, who represents the Louis-Hébert riding, was the first cabinet member to be sworn in. She was named Deputy Premier, and public security minister, as well as the minister responsible for the Capitale-Nationale.
Simon Jolin-Barrette was named immigration, diversity and inclusion minister — a position that will come with significant challenges.
Sonia LeBel was handed justice, status of women and Canadian relations, while Danielle McCann will handle health and social services.
Jean-François Roberge Education Minister, with Olympic gold medalist Isabelle Charest named minister-delegate of education
François Legault promises to govern for ‘all Quebecers’
New CAQ premier forms gender-balanced cabinet, emphasizes education, health care
“Today, we’re not just forming a CAQ government. We are forming a government for all Quebecers,” he said following the swearing-in ceremony by Lt.-Gov. J. Michel Doyon.
He also said he would follow through on his pledge to ensure the secularism of the state, banning the wearing of religious symbols by civil servants in positions of authority.
And he promised to do more to fight “against global warming,” despite serious concerns among environmentalists that his policies, including building more suburban roads, would fail to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

4-5 October
Quebec Liberal Party chooses MNA Pierre Arcand as interim leader
Liberals also expel Chomedey MNA Guy Ouellette from their caucus, saying he was guilty of a “serious breach of trust.”
Couillard stepped down Thursday, as premier, leader of the party and MNA for Roberval. His government will hold its last cabinet meeting before leaving office next week.
Quebec groups already vowing to fight ban on religious garb
Famed civil rights lawyer Julius Grey would help any groups or individuals fight an eventual law on religious clothing, proposed by the incoming Coalition Avenir Québec government.
On Wednesday, the party made it clear that school teachers, police officers, judges and prison guards who wear outward signs of their religions will have to find another job. That’s according to the CAQ’s proposed law on secularism in the state — an attempt to “better integrate” immigrants. Premier-designate François Legault also said he would invoke the notwithstanding clause of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to implement such a ban.
“I’d be happy to challenge it if someone asked me, or to assist. I would do whatever one could do to oppose such a law,” Grey told the Montreal Gazette Thursday. “I’m uncomfortable with the idea of people losing their jobs.”
Grey explained that this is an issue of fundamental rights, and that people who say that teachers can just take off their kippa, turban or hijab when they walk into work, and put it on when they leave, don’t understand the issue. … Grey said if the CAQ uses the notwithstanding clause to circumvent the charter, the only legal recourse will be to challenge the law before the United Nations Human Rights Committee. That would ensure that Quebec would garner international headlines.
Philippe Couillard leaves politics; makes plea for inclusive Quebec
(CJAD) A premier not known for showing emotion in public couldn’t help blinking back a few tears in his farewell address to his party and Quebecers.
Speaking at the National Assembly, Philippe Couillard announced he was stepping down as Liberal leader, and won’t take his seat as the newly-re-elected member for Roberval, three days after his crushing election defeat to François Legal and the CAQ.
“The unequivocal general election result, even after a mandate that was marked by a recovery and a historic revival of Quebec, leads me to make this decision,” Couillard said. “The desire for change was clearly expressed, so we must accept the consequences.”
As he did during his concession speech on Monday night, Couillard defended his government’s record, touting his major accomplishments, including in balancing Quebec’s books, increasing accessibility to family doctors, and increasing funding for schools.
Speaking in English, he also touted his party’s creation of the Anglo secretariat.
“English-speaking Quebecers now have a stronger voice and a better connection within the government,” he said. “A well-funded secretariat, as well as a minister dedicated to defending and representing their interests because we are all first-class Quebecers. I want them to know, I didn’t do this for short-term electoral reasons, but because of a profound belief in a truly inclusive Quebec.”

1-2 October
All the ways in which the Quebec election made history
The last time conservatives ruled Quebec there were still cigarette commercials on TV
First conservative government in Quebec since 1970
Most personally wealthy premier since Danny Williams
First new party since 1971 to win a majority so quickly
Worst vote share for the Quebec Liberal party since Confederation — in terms of overall vote share, the Quebec Liberal Party has never had a worse showing in 151 years. The 2018 election is the first time in history that fewer than 30 per cent of Quebec voters marked a ballot for the Grits.
Worst seat count for Quebec separatists since 1973

Supply management is top priority for Quebec’s incoming premier
(iPolitics) Asked if he would consider blocking the new trade agreement, Legault said, “I need more information.”
“There are several possible scenarios,” he added. “We have not established yet what we will do.”
But he did say he “would do everything to defend them (Quebec dairy producers).”

Chris Hall: Quebec’s election result was bad for Trudeau, good for almost everyone else
(CBC) … the loss of Liberal premiers has become a trend since Trudeau took power just three years ago.
In four provinces — B.C., Ontario, New Brunswick and now Quebec — the prime minister has lost key allies on signature files. Whatever alliances existed on health care, climate change, energy and immigration are now gone, fractured along regional and party lines.
Young voters, in particular, played a big role in Trudeau’s election victory three years ago. Retaining their support may not be a must for the Liberals in Quebec, but it surely will be important.
Veering hard to the left on these issues doesn’t only help the NDP distinguish itself from the Liberals. It also provides an incentive for people who care about progressive values to work for NDP candidates.
The political landscape in Quebec has changed. The CAQ’s victory offers an opening to the Conservatives, while the growth of Quebec Solidaire holds out a lifeline to the NDP. And Justin Trudeau has lost another Liberal ally in a provincial capital.

William Watson: Quebec voted for change, but how much change they actually got remains to be seen
If the lesson of Philippe Couillard is that doing the right fiscal things means getting booted from office, that doesn’t help Quebec in the long run
(Financial Post) Change is almost always the winning theme when the Outs beat the Ins. .. But it’s not clear just how much change Quebecers got. A right-ish performance-focused non-separatist party went way down (the governing Liberals), while a right-ish, performance-focused non-separatist party (the Coalition Avenir Quebec or CAQ) went way up — all the way to a majority. At the same time, a leftist separatist party (the Parti Québécois) went way down (to only 9 seats) while a hard-leftist separatist party (Québec solidaire or QS) went way up (to fully 10 seats). Yes, that’s right, the PQ’s at nine seats and devastated, its leader resigning, while the QS is at 10 seats and delirious, its leader a new political heroine.”

Quebec elects CAQ majority government, Liberals see historic losses

Liberals knocked out of power by François Legault’s party; Parti Québécois leader resigns
Coalition Avenir Québec, a right-of-centre party that has never held power, will form a majority government in Quebec, dealing a historic blow to the incumbent Liberals.
In a rowdy victory speech, premier-designate François Legault said voters had finally set aside the divisive battle over sovereignty that has consumed provincial politics for the last 50 years.
“Today, we have made history,” he said. “There are many Quebecers who have demonstrated that it is possible to have yesterday’s adversaries work together, to work for the Quebec of tomorrow, together.”
The election also saw major losses for the pro-independence Parti Québécois at the hands of another emerging party, Québec Solidaire. The PQ’s leader, Jean-François Lisée, resigned after losing his seat.
François Legault’s CAQ swept to power by suburbs, rural regions and francophones
Quebec may just have had its most important election in 50 years
The CAQ, which promises to lower taxes, privatize some aspects of the health-care system and cut the number of immigrants, capitalized on an appetite for change among Quebec voters.

Jennifer Maccarone wins in Westmount-St. Louis
(The Suburban) Jennifer Maccarone won her first provincial election easily in Westmount-St. Louis.
Maccarone, who has been best known as president of the Quebec English School Boards Association, received 66.71 percent of the vote.
Ekaterina Piskunova of Québec Solidaire, whose party tripled its number of MNAs Monday night, was second with 10.26 percent; Michelle Morin of the CAQ was third with 9.66 percent, and J. Marion Benoit of the PQ was fourth with 5.08 percent.
Maccarone’s win was convincing, but her percentage dipped from when outgoing MNA Jacques Chagnon achieved 83.2 percent of the vote as part of the Liberal wave that swept the PQ from power in 2014.

Et si nous avions eu un mode de scrutin proportionnel?
(ici radio Canada) Encore une fois, un parti a remporté la majorité des sièges à l’Assemblée nationale sans que la majorité des électeurs ait voté pour lui. À quoi ressemblerait le Québec, en ce lendemain d’élection, si on avait eu un mode de scrutin différent? Nous avons fait le calcul.

Here are the priorities of Quebec’s new CAQ government
What will voters get in François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec?
More private health care, overhaul of seniors’ care
The CAQ favours the decentralization of the health-care system and would allow the private-sector to supply more services. It has promised to renegotiate a controversial compensation package with Quebec’s medical specialists. The savings, however, are not included in the party’s financial plan, indicating they aren’t counting on striking a new deal.
They want to overhaul the province’s long-term institutional care system (CHSLDs) with a new network of what they say would be smaller, more “humane” homes, at an initial cost of $1 billion.
Bye-bye school boards?
Legault wants to abolish school boards and replace them with “service centres” that would provide administrative support to schools. The party believes this would give schools greater autonomy and make the education system cheaper to run. Anglophone groups have vowed to fight the change in court, arguing it would infringe on their constitutionally protected rights.
Secular charter
The CAQ says it would pass a secular charter that would go further than the Liberals’ religious neutrality law, portions of which are subject to a constitutional challenge. The CAQ opposes the wearing of religious symbols, including the hijab, by police officers and others who wield coercive state power. The party would also ban school teachers from wearing religious symbols.
Hazy on the environment
Legault said he supports international greenhouse gas reduction targets but has not been clear on how the CAQ would achieve that. The party opposes the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies and the ban on the construction of new oil and gas infrastructure. The CAQ’s environmental policies ranked lowest among the four main parties in a recent survey by environment groups.
Roads for the suburbs, no Pink line for Plante
Priorities for the CAQ’s voting base in the suburbs include extending greater Montreal’s light-rail transit (REM) line to Chambly on the South Shore and to Laval, north of Montreal — a plan that environmentalists worry would encourage further sprawl. The party would also extend Highway 19 in Laval and provide tax breaks for carpooling. Legault opposes Plante’s proposal for a new Pink Metro line, which would run from northeast Montreal to the southwest.

29 September
Nail-biters and interlopers: What Quebec’s election says about the new normal in Canadian politics
B.C., New Brunswick and now Quebec; close elections made unpredictable by new parties
(CBC) Quebec’s election campaign is heading into its final 48 hours, and yet it’s still not clear whether the incumbent Liberals can eke out a victory or if a new centre-right party will take power for the first time.
The race for third place is almost as close, as the Parti Québécois tries desperately to stave off a challenge from an insurgent group of left-wing sovereigntists.
In other words, just another down-to-the-wire provincial election made unpredictable by interlopers to an old two-party system.
Quebec Poll Tracker: CAQ inches ahead, majority now back on the table
No more politics as usual in Quebec — and its industrial heartland may be the reason why

24 September
Lise Ravary: Anglos shouldn’t spurn alternatives to the Liberals
I’m not pushing the CAQ, but it pains me that a good chunk of Quebecers will stay away from alternatives to the Liberals because of erroneous assumptions of racism and may end up not being represented in government even when independence is not on the table.
Voting en masse for one party, election after election, regardless of circumstances, sends a message of not-belonging, of otherness.
Les écologistes abasourdis par les propos de Couillard
(La Presse) Le chef libéral a affirmé que la réduction des émissions de gaz à effet de serre (GES) ne devait pas se faire au détriment de l’économie, se disant irrité de voir le mouvement écologique « minimiser les conséquences sociales de leurs actions », rapportait La Presse, samedi. « Il n’y a plus personne qui oppose l’économie et l’environnement comme il l’a fait », s’est étonné le directeur général pour le Québec et l’Atlantique de la Fondation David Suzuki, Karel Mayrand.

20-22 September
The advance poll is open. Think carefully! Fans of The Jungle Book will remember ” “Look—look well, O Wolves!” Very good advice to Quebec voters.
La vraie nature de Québec solidaire
Lysiane Gagnon
(La Presse) Nationalisation des banques, des mines, des forêts, des distributeurs d’internet. Emplois subventionnés. Reconnaissance par l’État de l’emploi non rémunéré, notamment dans « la reproduction de la force de travail » (c’est la conception marxiste de la maternité).
L’entreprise privée est tolérée si le personnel est autogéré. La semaine de 32 heures pour tous sans baisse de salaire. Interdiction du mécénat et des fondations philanthropiques dans les services publics. Hausses de salaires et augmentation des postes dans la fonction publique. Les écoles et les services de santé sont administrés par des « assemblées citoyennes ». Gratuité totale des universités et des transports.
QS réglementerait la publicité en fonction de ses « valeurs morales » ; abolirait les subventions aux écoles privées, lesquelles, même non subventionnées, seraient soumises aux mêmes exigences que les écoles publiques. Tous les médecins seraient salariés et les immigrants auraient le droit de vote. Retraite à 60 ans pour tous et régime unique d’État pour les retraités. Fin du libre-échange international et création de 300 000 emplois avec la sortie du pétrole.
Il s’agit clairement d’un programme non pas de gauche, mais d’extrême gauche.
Quebec election: Lisée asks anglos to take a chance on PQ
‘If you’re not for independence, it won’t happen in the first four years,’ Jean-François Lisée said. ‘Give us a try.’
Lisée says his vision for Quebec is a more progressive, greener, more egalitarian society than the ones proposed by the Liberals and CAQ.
He isn’t promising tax cuts but Lisée won’t raise them either. He wants to fight a pay raise to Quebec’s 20,000 specialist doctors and use those billions to invest in childcare, education and hospitals.
“We want to make sure that this is a place where every young child — boy or girl — whatever economic situation they come from, whatever their last name is, this is the place where their dreams can come true.”
But Lisée’s more egalitarian society is also one that appears to be at odds with at least some aspects of religious liberty.
His government would put forward policies that would exclude swaths of Muslims, Sikhs and Jewish people from becoming police officers, judges, prison guards, daycare workers and teachers.
$75 per week on groceries? Tough but manageable, says Philippe Couillard
Coalition Avenir Québec Leader François Legault said he spends around $250 per week on groceries for his family of four, and Couillard’s comment shows he is out of touch.
Québec Solidaire’s co-spokesperson, Manon Massé, challenged Couillard to live on what she characterized as “peanuts” — pointing to her party’s plan to raise the hourly minimum wage to $15 to make the lives of working-class Quebecers easier.
“It’s an insult to all the families who tightened their belts for his balanced budget,” Massé said in a statement.
Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée hedged his response, saying he eats out a lot and was not sure about how much it costs to feed a family of that size. Pretty feeble!

14 September
Macpherson: From expelling immigrants to exiling young anglos
François Legault and Jean-François Lisée couldn’t wait to show voters who could be tougher on minorities.
…Legault reached for his “go-back-to-your-country” immigrant-expulsion proposal. Nothing further needs to be said here about the inhumane proposal itself. But Legault’s timing in pulling it out the day Payette’s death was announced proved unfortunate for him. Legault panicked Lisée into responding two days later, on a Saturday morning. Lisée answered Legault’s promise to defend French Quebec against invading immigrants with an offer of protection against anglophones already here.
In Quebec, that end justifies a major party leader’s proposing a language policy apparently inspired by Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution in China, when urban youth were sent to the countryside to be “re-educated.” Chairman Lisée would temporarily exile young anglos from Montreal, where most of them live, to distant French-speaking regions for some sink-or-swim immersion. Anglo students in English-language CEGEPs would be denied their diplomas, and therefore admission to Quebec universities, unless they had spent their final session in French-language colleges, “preferably in the regions,” Lisée told reporters. At least there is no CEGEP in Arctic Ungava.

12 September
Martin Patriquin: In Quebec election, one fear has replaced another
Fear-mongering rhetoric about a referendum, once a Quebec election staple, is practically non-existent today. Now it’s immigration.
… while Legault have divorced himself of sovereignty, he has nonetheless adopted the fear-mongering aspect all-too-present in the movement’s modern incarnation. Legault said he would reduce the number of immigrants by 20 per cent — which, in an aging population such as Quebec’s, constitutes an act of demographic suicide.
Worse still, he has tied immigration to the supposed decline of French. Again, this is absurd. A 2016 Office québécois de la langue française report, the use of French in the workplace actually increased among anglophones and allophones between 1997 and 2016. In 1989, the PQ’s platform noted how “70 per cent of allophones adopt English as their second language.” In 2012, that number had decreased 30 per cent, according to the OQLF’s most recent statistics.
La CAQ glisse, la majorité compromise
Tandis que la majorité caquiste risque fort de se décider dans l’Estrie, le Parti québécois et Québec solidaire gagnent du terrain. Nouvelle projection électorale de Philippe J Fournier.

11 September
Language and immigration come to the front in Quebec election
Mr. Legault’s immigration policy is long-standing: He wants to cut quotas for new arrivals, test those who do come for French language and adherence to Quebec values after three years and then expel those who don’t pass – a power the province does not have.
What’s new is the rhetoric. Until now he has framed the policy as a way to boost economic integration rather than a way to protect francophone culture from the existential threat of immigration.
Quebec is facing a stark labour shortage and Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard, who favours maintaining current immigration levels, had also framed the issue around economics.

Promises, promises

Liberals promise free public transit for seniors and students
Philippe Couillard also announced plans for single pass giving users access to transit services across Quebec
For its part, Québec Solidaire has promised to reduce public transit fares by 50 per cent across the province within its first mandate. By a second mandate, it would offer free public transit for all Quebecers.
The Coalition Avenir Québec and the Parti Québécois haven’t made any specific promises about public transit fares so far this election campaign.

CAQ promises $800 million help keep seniors at home
The Coalition Avenir Québec says 31,000 seniors were on a waiting list for home care from a CLSC in 2017.

Quebec Votes 2018: What each party would do for the anglophone community
(CBC) Anglo rights may not be a big campaign issue nor have there been any official announcements or promises made so far, but to more than 14 per cent of the population, how the Quebec government interacts with and provides for its English-speaking citizens is a big deal.
In fact, other than cursory lines in party platforms recognizing the importance of the Anglo minority, no concrete commitments have been made

Hôpitaux: stationnement gratuit ou limité à 7$ par jour, promet le PLQ

Liberals offer more money to retirees, working seniors
New tax credits are aimed to keep seniors in the workforce and to get retired people back to work
A tax credit for people over 70 would be increased from $200 to $670, the Liberals promised.
People over 70 who make less than $57,000 would also see a tax credit for home maintenance increased by $1,000.

Quebec election: Liberals pledge to move decision-makers to regions
Decisions about natural resources should be made where the related economic activity is located, Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard says.
If his party is re-elected on Oct. 1, Couillard said a Liberal government would move bureaucrats and managers — up to the level of assistant deputy minister — who make decisions about natural resources to the region where the majority of economic activity related to that resource is located.

One of the more bizarre developments
It’s time to become the 51st state, new party says
[Hans Mercier,] leader of Parti 51, an authorized provincial party, wants Quebec to separate from Canada and become a “sovereign state member of the United States.”
“We tell people that you can’t judge a party by its leader,” Mercier said in an interview Tuesday, adding that his party has as many pro-Trump members as it has Trump haters.

2 September
Le difficile début de campagne des libéraux
(Radio Canada) Quand Gertrude Bourdon a évoqué la possibilité que le Parti libéral du Québec (PLQ) puisse perdre l’élection et qu’elle soit redoutable dans l’opposition, Philippe Couillard, juste à ses côtés, gesticulait abondamment avant de l’interrompre. La candidate vedette a le don, dès qu’elle ouvre la bouche, de mettre son chef et son parti dans l’embarras. On dit qu’elle a la tête dure, qu’elle ne se prend pas pour une queue de cerise et, selon les conseillers libéraux, qu’elle n’écoute pas les consignes.

27 August
After deep cuts in first mandate, Liberals promise $2.8B for education
Measures includes more free education for 4 year olds, support for kindergarten and first grade teachers
How Quebec’s political parties are courting families with education promises
Suggestions include free schooling, subsidized lunches and a single tax rate across Quebec

23 August
Adam Daifallah: Quebec’s Liberals have done a good job … but that might not matter at all
Opinion: Election will likely come down to whether a desire for change and anxiety about immigration outweigh a desire for continuity and stability
(National Post) Quebec heads into an election campaign today where for the first time in 40 years, the ballot question will be about something other than sovereignty. Most Quebecers are tired of the binary federalism-versus-separatism narrative and are looking forward to a debate along the traditional left-right spectrum.
With a referendum off the table, the verdict is still out on what issue or issues will come to fill that void leading up to the Oct. 1 vote. But with the political zeitgeist across the West being what it is, the campaign could easily turn into a polarizing fight about identity and cultural issues.
Where Quebec’s parties stand on the issues that matter most to you
(CBC) a guide to some of the promises Quebec’s main parties have made so far
Quebec election notebook: CAQ offers mixed messages in English, French
By Andy Riga
As recently as Wednesday, the party was advertising on Google, with different messages depending on whether you searched “CAQ” with your browser set to English or to French.
In English, the slogan: A Strong Quebec Within Canada, with a subtitle promising “concrete results for Quebecers.”
In French, the slogan: Répond à l’appel des Québécois (responding to the call of Quebecers), with a subtitle touting the party’s “new nationalist project.”
No mention of a nationalist project in English, no mention of Canada in French.

17 August
Chantal Hébert: Philippe Couillard picks a bad time to break a promise
The outgoing premier is about to spend the next six weeks making promises to Quebecers. If his own MNAs cannot trust his word, how can voters be expected to do so?
With the party’s blessing, François Ouimet was expected to be officially nominated as Marquette’s Liberal candidate on Wednesday night. Instead, he spent Wednesday morning giving a tearful news conference to talk about his shock at having been summarily dumped by his leader.
On Thursday, Couillard introduced former NHL hockey player Enrico Ciccone as his candidate in Marquette. The riding’s Liberal association was not on hand for the event. Its members were not in the loop of the party’s change of plan.

16 August
Access to services in English a key concern, anglo leaders tell premier
Philippe Couillard spent the afternoon meeting with a group of anglophone community leaders at Dawson College
English Quebecers want bilingual access to social services, anglo leaders told Premier Philippe Couillard at a town hall-style meeting Thursday.
After a busy morning responding to reporters’ questions in Lachine about his party’s new candidate, Enrico Ciccone, for the West Island riding of Marquette, Couillard spent the afternoon meeting with a group of anglophone community leaders at Dawson College.
Applauded by the 60 or so people present in the auditorium as he entered, the premier charmed the audience by first announcing an infrastructure spending plan for Dawson College. The $75-million investment in the downtown CEGEP will be preceded by a $1.5-million study on how best to address what the premier called a “lack of space” at the English college.
Beryl Wajsman reacts in Fb post: “I asked him if he was prepared to make the Anglophone secretariat truly effective by allowing the hiring of at least 10 Ombudspersons reporting directly to Minister Weil who would have the authority to intervene with every bureaucrat – in any agency or ministry – in response to any verbal complaint they received on public hotlines they would be staffing from anyone who could not get services or documents in English. No written complaints. No “process.” No delays. Surprisingly he committed with an unequivocal “Yes!” and we had a ten minute exchange in front of my media colleagues. He said whatever the number of ombudspersons,the need for intervention on matters of access to services was part of what he had discussed with community leaders that afternoon. Minister Weil was right next to the Premier. I know, I know it’s election time. But he did say it and with authenticity. Let’s see what happens.”

Seems this minister is either unaware of or not responsible for most of the issues in her portfolio.
Interview with Minister Kathleen Weil
Daybreak spoke with Minister Kathleen Weil, responsible for relations with English-speaking Quebecers, about new funding for anglophone groups, and ongoing issues with access to health care in English.

11 August
Quebec’s election campaign will kick off Aug. 23, vote will be Oct. 1
Liberal strategists hope the longer campaign will create problems for the party’s main adversary, the Coalition Avenir Québec.
Ending the one bit of mystery left — given Quebec’s fixed-date election law, which stipulates the vote will take place Oct. 1 — Couillard revealed he has opted for the longer campaign formula.
His decision means the campaign will last a total of 39 days.
That’s, in fact, 50 days from today. It will be Quebec’s 42nd general election and Couillard’s attempt at a second mandate after four years in office. With the exception of the short-lived Parti Québécois minority government of Pauline Marois, the Liberals have ruled Quebec for 15 years.
Couillard put an end to the speculation in a closing speech to 500 Liberal youth wing members gathered at Montreal’s east-end Centre Pierre-Charbonneau for their annual policy convention.

22 June
Ottawa makes deal to buy three icebreakers for coast guard
Deal avoids major work slowdown, layoffs at the Davie shipyard ahead of Quebec provincial election
There has been growing concern in Quebec about both the shipyard — and its workforce of roughly 1,300 — and the coast guard’s ability to break ice in the St. Lawrence River.
What the federal government signalled Friday was its intention to award the contact to Davie.
Competing shipyards will have two weeks to challenge that decision and demonstrate they can deliver ships with similar — or better — capabilities.
The deal that was struck involves a straight-up purchase of three icebreakers, with the Davie yard set to complete a series of modifications, said sources.

13 June
New Quebec poll suggests Coalition Avenir Québec has healthy lead
The Leger/LCN survey 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 Québécois.
CAQ could form minority government, but still lacks anglophone support

16 May
CAQ immigration plan sets 3-year deadline on learning French, passing values test
Critics say plan oversteps Quebec’s role in immigration system
(CBC) Under the plan, laid out in an “orientation document” made public this week, immigration candidates would receive a temporary three-year permit, referred to as a certificat d’accompagnement transitoire (CAT), and be tested on certain criteria such as knowledge of the French language in order to receive authorization to apply for Canadian residency.
Legault would not say what questions he believes should be asked in the values test, but said it would conform to the values set out in Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.
“I don’t think it would be a good idea for a political party to write a values test,” he said. “It would be done by the immigration ministry.”

13 May
Quebec elections: Resignation announcements hit Quebec Liberals ahead of fall vote
(Global) News that several Quebec Liberals won’t seek re-election this year has fuelled speculation the governing party’s boat is sinking, but former politicians caution against assuming that is the main reason behind the impending departures.
No fewer than 14 Liberal members of the legislature, including five cabinet ministers, have announced they won’t seek re-election. Four others, including two ministers and the Speaker, are also said to be considering their political future ahead of the Oct. 1 vote.
While Premier Philippe Couillard’s party is completing just its first mandate, the Liberals have been in power for 13 of the last 15 years and are polling consistently behind the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ).

28 April
Most Quebecers feel they’re overtaxed and underserved: study
More than 70 per cent of Quebec taxpayers say their taxes are “rather badly” administered and spent, according to a Université de Sherbrooke study.

16 – 17 April
Barreau du Québec files bombshell motion
(Canadian Lawyer) A motion filed jointly on Friday by the Barreau du Québec and the Montreal Bar, asking the Superior Court of Quebec to issue a declaratory judgment that all of the province’s laws, regulations and decrees are illegal because they were drafted and adopted in French only, has stunned politicians, lawyers and legal pundits the province.
“It’s a bombshell, there’s no other way to describe it,” says Benoît Pelletier, a constitutional law professor at the University of Ottawa and a former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister. “I’m sure the Quebec government is quite upset about it — and worried, too.”

Quebec bar files motion calling on province to change law-drafting process
Quebec’s law society is heading to court to challenge the way the provincial government goes about drafting and passing laws.
(Montreal Gazette) The Quebec Bar Association, along with the Montreal bar, said the current process is flawed and doesn’t respect the Canadian Constitution, making the province’s laws and decrees null and void.
In a motion filed last Friday and that names national assembly Speaker Jacques Chagnon and Justice Minister Stephanie Vallee, the bars state the problem is the laws are drafted in French and then translated into English only after the fact instead of simultaneously.
The bars argue legislators therefore never get to see the English version before a bill is passed.
According to an interpretation of Art. 133 of the 1867 British North America Act, while either language may be used in debates and pleadings, laws must be adopted in both English and French.
The bars say the resulting legislation deprives all Quebec litigants of the right to the same version of the law in accordance with constitutional norms.

(La Presse) Le Barreau veut faire invalider les lois du Québec
(Droit-inc) Les barreaux veulent invalider les lois québécoises!
Elles ne sont pas simultanément traduites et manquent de cohésion, ce qui serait inconstitutionnel…
La demande introductive d’instance a été déposée vendredi, au palais de justice de Montréal. Elle a été signifiée par Mes Louis Brousseau et Marie France Tozzi, du cabinet Jeansonne Avocats au président de l’Assemblée nationale, Jacques Chagnon, et à la procureure générale du Québec, Stéphanie Vallée.
Les deux barreaux, qui sont présidés par Paul-Matthieu Grondin et Brian Mitchell, estiment que le processus d’adoption des lois par le législateur québécois n’est pas conforme à la Constitution canadienne.

30 March
Editorial: At last, Quebec anglophones are on the radar
The anglo minority needs and deserves some support. This week, both the provincial and federal governments took welcome steps to provide it.
On Tuesday, the Quebec budget allocated badly needed additional funding for Quebec’s new secretariat for English-speaking Quebecers. Its job is to ensure that the community’s rights and interests receive consideration at the highest levels.
Then, on Wednesday, the federal government published its Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023: Investing in Our Future. While the distribution of resources is far from symmetrical — fair enough, the circumstances are not symmetrical — Quebec’s official-language minority does get some welcome attention, including $5 million to support community initiatives and $3 million to expand English health networks in rural and remote regions. (However, English-speaking Quebecers can only look with envy at the support for francophone immigration to the rest of Canada, to give a demographic boost to linguistic-minority communities there; political realities do not allow a reciprocal program.)
Both the provincial and federal governments have emphasized the need to support rural anglophones’ access to services. Certainly, this is an important issue. However, it would be fitting if greater notice were also taken of Montreal anglos’ concerns; while English services are in better supply on the island, concerns are growing about such matters as dwindling school enrolment and access to health care and social services.

27 March
Quebec Cuts Business Taxes in Fourth-Straight Balanced Budget
((Bloomberg)) With an economy growing at the fastest pace in almost 20 years, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is trying to reverse months of declining popularity in the run-up to an Oct. 1 election by offering tax breaks and increased spending on health care, education and families. Quebec residents are among the most heavily taxed in North America.
The latest measures are on top of moves announced by Leitao in November, when he introduced personal income tax cuts worth about C$1.08 billion to benefit 4.2 million taxpayers.
Quebec budget: $24.5 million for anglo secretariat
(Montreal Gazette) The bureau in the civil service with five employees and $1 million will have its funding doubled and doubled again by 2023

24 March
We need to find ways to break the isolation of anglo seniors, Weil says
‘There needs to be a major public campaign to sensitize people to the value that these seniors represent’
The minister has been on a provincewide tour consulting anglophones on their needs and concerns, after the announcement by the Liberal government in November of the creation of a new secretariat to ensure that the concerns of English-speaking Quebecers are taken into account in government decisions and policies.
Anglophone seniors, Weil heard, tend to be doubly isolated, because of vulnerabilities related to age but also because many of them do not speak fluent French. This can affect their ability to access health care and social services and to participate in community activities.
As baby boomers hit their golden years, services for the elderly are increasingly financially strapped, and volunteers are desperately needed to breach the gap, the groups told Weil.

26 February
Opinion: Quebec anglos have rare political leverage, and should use it
By Robert Libman
This is an important year for the anglophone community. A provincial election is to be held Oct. 1, and for the first time in a generation, the community could actually have an impact on the result. This time, the chess pieces are arranged a little bit differently than what anglophone voters are accustomed to, after years of being held in check by the Quebec Liberal Party.
With appetites for change sweeping politics everywhere, the Coalition Avenir de Quebec (CAQ) seems poised to form the next government. Their apparent commitment to the federal system, with the Parti Québécois having taken independence off the table for now, is allowing anglophones to consider straying from the hive. To ensure a victory, though, the CAQ will still need to make some inroads in the Montreal area, and will thus try to reach out to the anglophone community, still an uphill battle for a former sovereignist.
The Liberals are aware that they need our votes this time to defeat the CAQ. Real competition for anglo votes gives the community rare leverage.
Now is the time for our community to forcefully put our issues on the table. The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), English school boards and representatives of our health care institutions must be vocal during this narrow window that we have. The QCGN must push with renewed vigour for real powers and mandates to be identified for the new anglophone secretariat, and for concrete measures to improve representation of anglophones in the Quebec civil service.

17 February
Quebec’s next budget to address needs of anglophones: Weil
Quebec’s minister responsible for anglophone community issues says the next budget will address issues she is hearing from that community.
(Montreal Gazette) Quebec’s minister responsible for anglophone issues is raising hopes that the concerns and needs of the province’s English-speaking communities will be tackled in a concrete way in Quebec’s next budget.
Kathleen Weil held an all-day forum at Concordia University Friday to hear from about 40 leaders of groups and institutions that serve anglophone communities across Quebec.
At the end of the day she told them the Liberal government intends to present a costed-out, five-year action plan on issues they have brought to her attention in online consultations and in her province-wide tour, which is ongoing.
While better access to health and social services in English has been the top concern raised, Weil said her consultations have highlighted other concerns such as:

  • a “brain drain” of young, educated and bilingual anglophones out of the province,
  • poverty in English-speaking communities across Quebec, especially in rural areas
  • the need for more education programs in English in the skilled trades
  • the need to increase anglophone hires in the civil service

29 January
Martin Patriquin: Trudeau fails Muslims by not challenging Quebec’s niqab law
(iPolitics) As Quebec commemorates the one-year anniversary of the Quebec City mosque shootings, in which six Muslims were slaughtered because of their religion, the Trudeau government have shown that when the Prime Minister’s storied empathy collides with political considerations, politics inevitably win out. … Even before the shooting, Quebec’s provincial government introduced Bill 62, a so-called ‘religious neutrality bill’, which compelled anyone giving or receiving a government service do so with their face uncovered. It became law on October 18, 2017 — exactly 262 days after the mosque shootings.

4 January
Looking back on the 1998 ice storm 20 years later
35 died, nearly 1,000 were injured, making storm among worst natural disasters in Canadian history
(CBC) Twenty years ago this week, starting on Jan. 4, 1998, southern Quebec and eastern Ontario were pelted with as much as 100 millimetres of freezing rain and ice pellets — an ice storm that lasted five days.
At its peak, 3.5 million Quebecers — roughly half of Quebec’s population — and more than a million Ontarians, as well as thousands in New Brunswick, were left in the dark, many for several weeks.The affected regions were hit with double the amount of precipitation they normally receive in a year. See CBC archive and In the heart of the triangle of darkness
A dreadful time, but the community response was absolutely heartwarming.
And who can forget the daily updates from Premier Lucien Bouchard and the President and CEO of Hydro-Québec, André Caillé?
Members of the Canadian Armed Forces walk to their headquarters in Westmount, Que., on Jan. 9, 1998. (Robert Galbraith/Canadian Press)

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