Quebec post 2022 elections

Written by  //  March 22, 2023  //  Québec  //  No comments

21-22 March
Quebec budget highlights: Income tax cuts, pension plan changes, more money for seniors
Despite warnings a recession may be around the corner, Quebec is moving ahead with what Finance Minister Eric Girard described as one of the largest tax cuts in the province’s history.
Beginning in July, Quebecers will see a drop in income tax deductions on their pay slips, with tax cuts totalling $9.2 billion by 2028, Girard announced in his 2023-24 provincial budget on Tuesday.
The move — fulfilling a Coalition Avenir Québec election promise — is controversial, with some economists, business groups and trade unions warning it’s a mistake to cut government revenue at a time of economic turbulence.
They fear it could further fuel inflation and lead to service cuts down the road, with some critics saying the province is pushing the debt burden onto future generations.

MEI celebrates a quarter century as the rest of the country is ‘finally catching up’ to Quebec on health care
(The Hub) The Montreal Economic Institute, a free market think tank based in Quebec, will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year with a new president and CEO taking charge.
Daniel Dufort, who currently serves as the organization’s vice president of operations, will take over from Michel Kelly-Gagnon, who will shift to the role of founding president.
Kelly-Gagnon said the increased openness of Quebecers towards more entrepreneurship in health care is one of the most satisfying achievements of his quarter century at MEI.

14 March
A Pretty Big Story.
Québec Solidaire takes down a Liberal fortress
The context: Outside of the West Island-to-Westmount corridor, it’s hard to think of a bigger Liberal stronghold than Saint-Henri-Sanite-Anne. Going into this week’s by election, the provincial Liberals won the district 10 consecutive times dating back to the riding’s creation in 1994. Even after getting their teeth kicked in by the CAQ last fall, the Liberal leader Dominique Anglade won the riding by a healthy margin, taking home 36 per cent of the vote to Québec Solidaire’s 27.
That all changed Monday, after Québec Solidaire candidate Guillaume Cliche-Rivard — who ran against Anglade in October — campaigned circles around his Liberal opponent. Cliche-Rivard, an immigration lawyer, zeroed in on housing affordability and immigration as two central issues to the neighbourhood. He won 44 per cent of the vote, beating the Liberals by 16 points.

14 February
Tom Mulcair: Legault is running circles around the Trudeau Liberals
In 2018, CAQ leader indicated he’d be claiming powers from Ottawa in language, culture and immigration. He has been doing just that.
Premier François Legault has dictated new rules for Quebec-Ottawa relations. It’s a sea change taking place inexorably.
In an interview with L’actualité prior to the 2018 campaign, Legault candidly stated the obvious: the two attempts to gain Quebec independence with a referendum had failed.
More ominously, Legault said he’d get “there” by claiming powers from Ottawa in three key areas: language, culture and immigration.
He has been doing just that, and both Trudeau and his justice minister, David Lametti, have appeared outmatched
This week, the CAQ government has been tightening the screws on Ottawa, requesting special status before the CRTC. The province wants it to be written into Bill C-11 that it has to be consulted on all matters of cultural interest to Quebec.
There doesn’t appear to be anyone with a coherent view of these issues in Trudeau’s entourage. Polievre’s clientelism with regard to Quebec is once again on full display. For a guy who claims to be all about freedoms, eroding the freedom to use either official language before Quebec courts should have been a problem. But apparently not.

3 February
Robert Libman: Criticism shouldn’t be confused with ‘Quebec bashing’
“This government acts as if only the majority matters. A failure to see things through the eyes of those in the minority, who live different realities, leads to actions that are insensitive and that can sometimes be labelled as intolerant,” Robert Libman writes.
Quebec’s political class reflexively characterizes criticism of certain Quebec laws as “Quebec bashing,” with all the righteous indignation and piling on that follows. Rarely is there any attempt to see things from the perspective of those who bear the brunt of those laws. Rarely does one stop to think about whether there might be any validity to the objections.
The accusation of “Quebec bashing” is often a distortion and distraction. For the most part, criticism of the Quebec government — or any other — does not spring from thin air.

2 February
First green hydrogen-powered passenger train in North America coming to Quebec
In a North American first, a passenger train powered by green hydrogen will be given a dry run this summer on a tourism rail line linking Quebec City to the east.
The Quebec government will invest $3 million into an $8-million pilot project showcasing the Alstom-built Coradia iLint train. It will be put into service for three or four months this summer on the hugely popular Chemin de fer Charlevoix tourist train line, Premier François Legault announced Thursday at a news conference.
Hydrogen is not used to directly propel the train. Instead the hydrogen is fed into a fuel cell that produces electric energy. For this experiment, the Quebec firm Harnois Énergies will produce and transport the needed hydrogen.
It is designed specifically for non-electrified trail lines and is quieter than a conventional train. The Chemin de fer Charlevoix runs a total of 148 kms, making stops in eight communities.
The announcement follows a week at the legislature where Quebec’s energy future has been front and centre. …
Following the premier’s comments last week that Quebec will need four or five new dams to meet future power demands, Hydro-Québec revealed that in order to meet the needs of all future potential investment, that number would have to be much higher: about 23,000 megawatts.
Economy and Energy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon has said that number is not realistic and has revised the number down to 10,000 megawatts of additional electricity.
But it’s clear the government is ready to dabble in many options — including green hydrogen — to reach its goals of producing more power, stimulating investment at the same time as favouring companies producing limited greenhouse gas emissions.
L’hydrogène vert approvisionnera le tiers du transport lourd, croit Pierre Fitzgibbon
(Le Devoir) Le tiers du secteur des transports lourds devra être approvisionné par de l’hydrogène vert pour que la transition énergétique soit complète, a déclaré le ministre de l’Économie et de l’Énergie, Pierre Fitzgibbon, quelques jours après avoir tiré un trait sur la majorité des projets qui visent à développer ce nouveau carburant au Québec.
En conférence de presse, le ministre a affirmé qu’il ne savait « pas réellement » quelle sera la proportion d’hydrogène vert nécessaire pour que le Québec atteigne l’objectif de neutraliser les émissions de gaz à effet de serre (GES) d’ici 2050, comme convenu dans le cadre d’accords internationaux sur les changements climatiques. « Il est clair pour nous que l’hydrogène va jouer un rôle dans les transports, a-t-il dit.

29 January
André Pratte: Legault picks fight with Ottawa to divert attention from his own rights trampling
The premier insists on playing up the federal government’s ‘frontal attack’ on Quebec to distract from his government’s derogation of human rights
Quebec Premier François Legault wasted no time reacting to Justin Trudeau’s statement that his government was considering referring the use of the notwithstanding clause by some provinces to the Supreme Court, accusing the prime minister in a series of tweets of leading a “frontal attack” on Quebec. The premier’s reaction was predictable — blaming Ottawa is so much easier than justifying his government’s egregious disregard for Quebecers’ human rights.

27 January
Power-hungry Quebec will soon need more hydro dams, Legault says
“We are able to build dams before 2041,” premier says, but won’t divulge which four or five rivers are being targeted by the government.
Premier François Legault said Friday that Quebec will need to build four or five new dams to meet future power demands, but won’t say which rivers are being targeted to avoid panicking any communities.

20 January
Robert Libman: Cheap power, but at what expense to Quebecers?
The government’s vision for Hydro-Québec should be a matter of public debate, as should how profits are earmarked
[Its] economic-development role has occasionally generated controversy over the years. …
The strategy of selling off our energy, often at discount rates, gobbles up a considerable part of the energy grid, meaning that more energy must be produced to satisfy domestic needs, which leads to more dams, diversion of rivers, flooding and other environmental concerns. In today’s digital economy, some of the most voracious energy-eaters are industrial warehouses filled with servers for crypto-currency production, online gambling or data centres, which provide minimal job creation. That is presumably what Brochu was referring to when she quipped that Quebec shouldn’t become “the Dollarama of electricity.”
Premier François Legault talks about building more dams to meet a growing demand for Quebec’s clean energy. He may be right in using Hydro-Quebec as a cash cow; Quebec desperately needs its billions in profits. But consumers are frustrated, often blindsided by power outages and hit with annual rate hikes.

10 January
CEO’s exit raises questions about Hydro-Québec’s independence: experts
Sophie Brochu had cast doubt on the wisdom of the CAQ government’s desire to lure new power-hungry industrial users to the province.
Sophie Brochu’s surprise resignation from her post as Hydro-Québec chief executive raises questions about the utility’s independence from the government, industry experts and opposition politicians say.
News of Brochu’s departure comes about three months after the executive cast doubt on the wisdom of the Coalition Avenir Québec government’s desire to lure new power-hungry industrial users to the province, saying she would resist attempts to transform the state-owned utility into a “dollar store” of electricity.
“We’re in shock. It’s very disappointing,” Nicolas Cloutier, head of the professional union of Hydro-Québec engineers known by its French acronym, SPIHQ, said in an interview. With Côté, the Hydro-Québec chair, scheduled to leave in May, “there will be a leadership void.”
In October, SPIHQ issued a press release to back Brochu and criticize the government for wanting to intervene in the company’s energy transition strategy.

3 January
Opinion: More challenges ahead for English-speaking Quebecers in 2023
The vitality of our community and the many institutions we created and supported for generations are increasingly endangered.
Eva Ludvig
This new year will prove pivotal for English-speaking Quebecers, indeed all Quebecers, as the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government puts into place its new Charter of the French Language, significantly harshened by Bill 96.


30 December
Analysis: Can Quebec Liberals recover from the annus horribilis of 2022?
Whoever ends up winning the permanent leadership will be assuming control of a party in tatters and in need of a near-complete rebuild — as well as a raison d’être.
Jocelyne Richer
(La Presse Canadienne) The Quebec Liberal Party turned 155 years old in 2022, but this was also a year that saw the party go through the political equivalent of puberty — feeling unloved, confused about itself and uncertain over its future. It was the Liberals’ annus horribilis, with the Oct. 3 election seeing the party record its worst result ever — an unambiguous and massive rejection by Quebec voters.

25 November
Robert Libman: Premier Legault risks becoming his own biggest adversary
With such a dominant hold on the National Assembly, he will have to be careful not to fall prey to overconfidence and arrogance.
With difficult economic times ahead and a failing health-care system, Legault will be expected to deliver. His first term was dominated by the pandemic; his government, like others, had to weather a storm beyond its control. Identity issues that allowed him to generate consensus among the majority at the expense of minorities were another distraction. In a second mandate, blaming previous administrations starts to wear thin and real solutions to real problems are required.
While Legault may feel invincible in the Blue Room, the patience of Quebecers will start to fray if he comes off as flippant while they are struggling. If he is not careful or humble and scoffs at criticism — if his disproportionate strength in the National Assembly breeds arrogance — he could be in for a rougher ride than what appears.

20 November
Parti Quebecois Leader St-Pierre Plamondon calls for his party’s ‘right to exist’
The leader of the once-powerful Parti Quebecois says he’s fighting for his party’s “right to exist” after an election result that saw it reduced to just three seats in the provincial legislature.
Paul St-Pierre Plamondon has been fighting to have his party granted official status, despite falling short of the threshold, and says he’s just asking for the minimum his party needs to carry out its duties when the next session begins on Nov. 29.
The Parti Quebecois and Quebec solidaire won three and 11 seats, respectively, despite both winning a higher share of the popular vote than the second-place Liberals, who won 21.

18 November
Quebec to discuss French-language law, immigration at Francophonie Summit
(CTV) Premier Francois Legault says the foreign media have “misinterpreted” Bill 96 and the Coalition Avenir Québec’s immigration policies. Legault promises to “explain” them at the Francophonie Summit.
Legault landed Friday in Djerba, Tunisia, where the 18th Francophonie Summit is being held.
In a news scrum, Legault said that one of his main challenges would be to explain Quebec’s choices in terms of language and immigration, in the context of the “decline we are experiencing in Montreal.”
According to Legault, Quebec has had bad press internationally.
“We have seen some media outside Quebec perhaps misinterpret our Bill 96 and the objectives we have set in terms of the number of immigrants,” he said. “We talked about the number of places we wanted to limit in English-language CEGEPs, the choice of immigrants. I think it’s important (…) to say that Quebec (…) will always be a welcoming people.”

Hanes: Bill C-13 throws Quebec anglos ‘under the bus,’ says QCGN
The Quebec Community Groups Network is raising concerns about the imminent update of Canada’s Official Languages Act.
The organization, which represents the interest of Quebec’s anglophone minority, says the new federal legislation is problematic because it refers to the Charte de la langue française in Quebec, which Bill 96 recently elevated above the Canadian and Quebec human rights charters, and pre-emptively shielded from legal challenges with the notwithstanding clause.
In an open letter the QCGN recently published and is inviting Canadians to sign, president Eva Ludvig laments that Ottawa is tacitly endorsing the use of the constitutional override on entire bills before they are tested in court, even though the federal Liberal government is contemplating eventually joining the fight against Quebec’s Bills 96 and 21 (the province’s secularism law).

La loi 96 et les seuils d’immigration s’invitent au Sommet de la Francophonie
Les médias étrangers ont « mal interprété » la loi 96 et les politiques d’immigration de la Coalition avenir Québec, selon François Legault, qui promet de les « expliquer » au Sommet de la Francophonie.
en mêlée de presse, il a déclaré que l’un de ses principaux défis allait être d’expliquer les choix du Québec en matière de langue et d’immigration, dans le contexte du “déclin qu’on vit à Montréal”. Selon lui, le Québec a eu mauvaise presse à l’international.
“On a vu certains médias à l’extérieur du Québec peut-être mal interpréter notre loi 96 et les objectifs qu’on se donne en termes de nombre d’immigrants”, a-t-il déclaré.

François Legault’s Double-Down Mandate and Minority Language Rights
Quebec Premier François Legault’s landslide second mandate seems to have ratified his controversial targeting of both minority language and religious rights in the province. Within a larger global context of systematic assaults on human rights, Legault’s efforts to disrupt Canada’s democratic status quo, especially with a new Alberta premier adopting similar tactics, seems ominous. David Johnston, longtime journalist and former Quebec representative of the federal Commissioner of Official Languages, breaks down the political and legal angles of the story.
(Policy) His first priority, he said, was immigration, the issue that dominated the Quebec election campaign. Legault wants the federal government to transfer two new powers to Quebec — powers of selection over the family-unification class of immigrants, and of temporary workers. On the last day of the campaign, the premier said he was considering holding a referendum on the issue in Quebec, something he had ruled out the previous spring. Three days after the election, he hinted again at a referendum, saying obliquely: “If Quebecers want the government of Quebec to have more powers in immigration, nobody is going to be able to resist that.”
The second priority, he said, relates to language. Quebec passed new legislation in May, Bill 96, that among other things has modernized the Charte de la langue française, aka Bill 101. Bill 101 in its original form, introduced in 1977, respected federal jurisdiction and never sought to apply to federal operations in Quebec, including private companies under federal regulation – e.g., banks, telecommunications and inter-provincial transport companies. However, Bill 96 — the language bill which, as with Bill 21 restricting the rights of government workers to wear religious garb in the workplace, saw Legault invoke the notwithstanding clause of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms— has amended the language charter to assert that “all enterprises” in Quebec must now comply.

10 November
André Pratte: Is there a future for liberalism in Quebec?
The work to define the party’s new political offerings needs to start immediately
(National Post) The last time I met Dominique was a year ago, as polls showed the provincial Liberals to be in serious trouble. I was coming to offer my services to the party; if liberalism was at risk, I felt a duty to be a part of the fight. Quite frankly, I thought she would welcome my offer with open arms. To the contrary, she made it clear that she was not interested. Of course, I could buy my party membership card, she said. I did.
A few days later, a close adviser to the leader explained that Anglade found me “too old and too federalist.” I was disappointed, of course, but did not hold a grudge. Since the leader wanted to project an image of renewal, adding a 65-year-old white male to her team might not appear like a good idea.
… Controversial decisions that Anglade and her entourage made during and after the campaign convinced me that, despite all her intelligence and determination, she unfortunately did not have what it takes to be a good political leader.
How the party navigates the next four years will decide nothing less than the future of liberalism in the province. I say “liberalism” in the philosophical meaning of the word, i.e. “favourable to or respectful of individual rights and freedoms” (Oxford Dictionary of English).

Quebec Liberal Party names Marc Tanguay as interim leader
Tanguay, the MNA for LaFontaine in Montreal, is also considering running for party leadership
Tanguay has been the MNA for the Montreal riding of LaFontaine since 2012 and has been Official Opposition House Leader.
Few party veterans remain. Prior to the provincial election, more than a dozen Quebec Liberals left politics, including mainstays like David Birnbaum, Kathleen Weil, and Carlos Leitao.

9 November
Quebec international relations minister will kick off first mission in New York
Martine Biron will make her first trip as international relations minister to New York state.
Trade between Quebec and New York reached more than $10 billion CAD in 2021. In addition, about 6 per cent of New York state’s electricity supply comes from Quebec.
The U.S. accounts for over 70 per cent of Quebec’s international exports.
Biron, who is also the minister responsible for Francophonie and the status of women, is the MNA for Chutes-de-la-Chaudière.
Radio Canada Profil

8 November
Next Liberal party leader could be chosen [in] fall 2023
(CJAD/Canadian Press) The next leader of the Quebec Liberal Party (QLP) could be elected next year, in the fall of 2023, at the earliest.
In the meantime, Dominique Anglade’s interim successor should be named on Thursday.
Ever since Anglade resigned on Monday, speculation has been rife as to who might be interested in taking her place as the head of the party.
The speculation seems premature, however, because before a leadership race is launched, an established process will be set in motion.
Philip Authier: The problems Liberals face go way beyond Dominique Anglade’s leadership
Her departure throws the party into yet another hunt for a leader to save its hide.
History will show that it was a normally routine matter, the creation of the Liberal shadow cabinet, that sparked Anglade’s undoing.
Her decision to kick out Vaudreuil MNA Marie-Claude Nichols, who refused the opposition role Anglade had carved out for her, opened the floodgates to pent-up frustrations inside the party and revealed how tenuous Anglade’s hold on the Liberals really was.
Her efforts to woo Nichols back just made things worse, and Nichols refused the olive branch.
It was also a sign that Anglade — who was acclaimed leader in May 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic after her lone opponent, former Drummondville mayor Alexandre Cusson, pulled out — never really had the time to connect with her party, which is critical for any leader.
Tom Mulcair: After Anglade, Quebec Liberals wait for a saviour
Despite facing the Legault steamroller, Anglade had managed to retain Official Opposition status. That clearly wasn’t enough for an outfit accustomed to power.
Dominique Anglade showed characteristic class as she withdrew from political life Monday. She clearly breathed a sigh of relief as she walked away from the podium with her husband and their three children after her brief but well-crafted announcement.
It will be fascinating to watch what type of saviour the Liberals come up with. Their situation reminds me of that of the federal Liberals when they parted ways with Stéphane Dion. Michael Ignatieff, a telegenic, urbane intellectual, was waiting in the wings. What could go wrong? Whatever other qualities he had, Ignatieff wasn’t good at politics, and he flew the Liberal plane into the side of a mountain.

7 November

Yielding to critics, Anglade quits as Quebec Liberal leader and MNA

She says the party faces “numerous challenges,” including the need to reconnect with francophone voters “while remaining true to its values.”

27 October
Dominique Anglade, unveils liberal team shadow cabinet
“Quebecers are counting on the Liberal team to face the current economic challenges. It is a renewed team that will deploy all of its energy to serving citizens from all of Quebec’s regions. Thanks to their combination of life and parliamentary experience, our MNAs are ready to face the challenges ahead of us.”
Liberal MNA Nichols expelled from caucus after turning down transport critic role
Enrico Ciccone, the MNA who chairs the Liberal caucus, made the announcement Thursday at the end of a day of high drama in the struggling party. Nichols will sit as an independent. The decision means the Liberal caucus will now number only 20 instead of the 21 elected on Oct. 3.
The loss of Nichols means the rest of the caucus will have to pick up the slack when it comes to the shadow cabinet.
The party announced LaFontaine MNA Marc Tanguay will be the Liberals’ house leader and critic for Canadian relations and transport. Pontiac MNA André Fortin will face off against the Coalition Avenir Québec’s Pierre Fitzgibbon as critic for the economy, energy and regional economic development.
Monsef Derraji, MNA for Nelligan, will retain the role of health critic. The role of education critic will be held once again by St-Laurent MNA Marwah Rizqy.
Ciccone, MNA for Marquette, will be sport critic, while Notre-Dame-de-Grâce MNA Désirée McGraw will be assigned the portfolios of environment and climate change, plus relations with English-speaking Quebecers where she will face off against Eric Girard,
Marguerite-Bourgeoys MNA Frédéric Beauchemin will be the finance critic, and Bourassa-Sauvé MNA Madwa-Nika Cadet will be in charge of the French language and employment files.
Michelle Setlakwe, MNA for Mont-Royal—Outremont, will be critic for culture and the francophonie.

Allison Hanes: Census data holds up a mirror to our diversity
The latest census data by Statistics Canada is bound to prompt soul-searching in Quebec about identity. And frankly, it should.
It offers a reflection of who we are, where we come from and how we’ve changed over time. The information on ethnic, racial and religious identity released by Statistics Canada Wednesday painted the most nuanced portrait yet of Canada’s — and Quebec’s — incredible and evolving diversity.
Montreal has the ninth-largest share of immigrants, at 24.3 per cent, and is second only to Toronto as the destination of choice for newcomers. But its popularity has declined since 2016, as has the proportion of all immigrants Quebec has welcomed. … The most significant racialized groups in Quebec are Black and Arab, representing 5.1 per cent and 3.4 per cent of society, respectively. Montreal is home to the largest share of Arabs in the country, with 35.5 per cent. The city also has the second-largest Black, Latin American and South Asian populations
François Legault’s Next Fed-Prov Test: Immigration
The October 3rd Quebec election mattered on a number of fronts, not the least of which as a boosted mandate for Premier François Legault’s challenges to the status quo federal-provincial division of power, notably through the use of the notwithstanding clause of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
McGill Institute for the Study of Canada Director Daniel Béland breaks down the implications.
(Policy) …due to the prominence of the debate over immigration and its perceived link to the future of French language, Montreal is a major political issue for the CAQ, something that became clear during the campaign when then-Minister of Immigration, Francization and Integration Jean Boulet uttered controversial remarks about immigration
These controversies point to the perceived link between immigration, which remains concentrated in the Montreal area, and the future of the French language, which is seen as facing an existential threat by many francophones in the province. In this context, Quebec nationalists are now prioritizing what is known as the francisation des immigrants, something clearly stressed by the current name of the department in charge of immigration policy in the province. Beyond language, in Quebec immigration is also tied to the ongoing debate over systemic racism, a term Premier Legault has long rejected, arguing that, although there are racists in Quebec, there is no system of racism in the province, a controversial and problematic view that has strained relationships between the CAQ government and both racialized minorities and Indigenous peoples.
If immigration is a major issue within Quebec domestic politics, it is also an issue that has major implications for intergovernmental relations between the province and the federal government. This is the case because, in the name of the protection of the French language, the CAQ is advocating for gaining more powers from Ottawa in the field of immigration policy.

26 October
Andrew Caddell: Proportional representation is the little engine that couldn’t
Try as it might, unlike the children’s story, changing from the first-past-the-post system just can’t make over that damned electoral hill.
(The Hill Times) It is a predictable result of any Canadian election. The instant the polls close and the results are known, every pundit within howling distance of the legislature or parliament tears apart the first-past-the-post system.
So, in the last few weeks, the Quebec media has been filled with commentary about the need for proportional representation (or PR) at the National Assembly after the Oct. 3 provincial election. With 41 per cent of the votes, Premier François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec received 90 seats, or 72 per cent of the total. Meanwhile, the three opposition parties each received 15 per cent or so, but their results varied wildly (Liberals 21 seats, Québec Solidaire 11 seats, Parti Québécois three seats). The Conservatives, with 13 per cent, got none.
Back in 2018, the CAQ had agreed with the other parties to move to a mixed-member proportional system, where 71 members would be voted in their constituencies and 54 according to party lists. But once Legault got into power and liked it, he reneged on electoral reform. The opposition parties whined, the pundits howled, but nothing changed.

20 October
François Legault’s new cabinet includes a few new faces and many returning veterans
Members include 16 men and 14 women, 1st Indigenous minister
Premier François Legault unveils 30 member Quebec cabinet after big election win
By Staff The Canadian Press
Quebec Premier François Legault introduced a new, expanded cabinet Thursday, a mix of veteran ministers from his party’s first mandate and several newly elected members, including the province’s first Indigenous cabinet minister.
Two-thirds of the 30 cabinet posts are held by returning ministers, with nine newly elected members and one former backbencher.
Among the key names returning are Christian Dubé in health, Pierre Fitzgibbon in economy and energy, Eric Girard in finance and Geneviève Guilbault, who takes on transport while conserving her deputy premier post.
Jean Boulet managed to hang on as labour minister but lost his other posts, including the immigration file, after being roundly criticized for saying 80 per cent of immigrants don’t work, speak French or adhere to Quebec values. Legault had said Boulet was unfit to return as immigration minister, and on Thursday he handed that post to newcomer Christine Frechette.
Other newcomers entering cabinet include Kateri Champagne Jourdain, the first Indigenous woman elected to the national assembly, as employment minister, and former Parti Québécois cabinet minister Bernard Drainville in education.
Following the swearing-in, Legault listed education, health and the economy as priorities for the coming mandate. Legault also said he would chair a special committee on the transition away from fossil fuels. He also said he wants to consult opposition parties and environmental groups on the transition.
Legault also addressed English Quebecers, saying in English that preserving French was everyone’s business in the province. He named Girard, the finance minister, as minister for English-speaking Quebecers.

11 October
Tom Mulcair: Now, after Quebec election, there are choices to make
Legault, Anglade will be assessing their own and the other side’s players as they prepare, respectively, to put a cabinet and shadow cabinet on the ice.
(Montreal Gazette) Legault is in his 66th year,…20 years older than the average of the other four party leaders. It showed during the campaign and ambitious members of his caucus, like Bernard Drainville and Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault, will be looking to make their mark, with a view to succession.
Guilbault has already signalled that she doesn’t want to be the regional minister for Quebec City anymore. Who can blame her? There will be two major battles with powerful mayor Bruno Marchand: over a proposed major tramway and the so-called “third link” tunnel between Quebec City and Lévis. If she ever does want to succeed Legault, she’s very wise to sidestep these lose-lose files.
Always one to lead with his chin, Bernard Drainville provoked the ire of Legault’s campaign organizers when he told reporters to “stop bugging me about greenhouse gases,” as he waxed poetic about the tunnel. He’d gone way off script, appeared particularly proud of himself and seemed blissfully unaware that Legault was fuming behind him.
Environment was Legault’s Achilles heel and the last thing he needed was for Drainville to remind voters that the issue hasn’t been a priority for the Coalition Avenir Québec. We’ll see whether he gets the major ministry he’s been dreaming about. This is the guy who brought in the discriminatory Charter of Values, a precursor of Bill 21; never enacted, it thankfully was as short-lived as the Parti Québécois government Drainville was part of. He’s one of Legault’s pet separatists so, while keeping him out entirely would no doubt please Legault’s entourage, Drainville will likely be allowed to keep his Gong Show going, much to the delight of the press gallery.

10 October
André Pratte: The way forward for Quebec Liberals
There is a fundamental issue that Liberals will need to address, and that cannot be avoided for fear of displeasing the leader or her entourage.
Liberals need look no further than their party’s constitution to (re)discover the fundamental principles, the foundation upon which the political party’s future must be built. These principles contain everything necessary to offer Quebecers the distinct, centrist and rational path they will be looking for after two terms of Coalition Avenir Québec government.
The first paragraph of section 1 of the Quebec Liberal Party constitution states that the party’s philosophy is based on “the primacy of the person, individual freedoms and the right of each to realize their goals in respect of others.” This article must guide the positions of the party at all times. That being the case, there should never have been any doubt about the party’s firm opposition to the abusive use of the notwithstanding clause in Bill 96.
The Liberal Party does not have to take a “nationalist turn.” The oft-repeated myth that the governments of Jean Charest and Philippe Couillard “have been the least nationalistic in modern Quebec history” is just that, a myth, cleverly constructed by those who oppose the Liberals. The party’s nationalism is enshrined in its constitution, which makes “the promotion of Quebec’s interests in the Canadian federation” one of its fundamental principles. The Quebec Liberal Party, which was nationalist long before its competitors, needs no lecture in that regard.
While vigorously and constructively playing its role as Official Opposition, the Liberal Party must develop, on the basis of its principles, concrete and realistic proposals on the issues that will be at the forefront of Quebecers’ concerns in the coming years. These include access to health care, the economy, immigration, the French language and the environment. Quebecers expect any major party to make proposals that are beyond reproach. The Liberals can no longer afford to table a flawed fiscal framework or a grand, unrealistic project.
… The best way to restore the confidence of voters of all languages, regions and origins in the Liberal Party is to offer them a governing party that puts forward original and pragmatic proposals, based on profoundly modern Quebec values. The party must once again become a government-in-waiting, ready to tackle the problems facing Quebec and Quebecers, and to do so in a rigorous, concrete — and truly liberal — manner.

7 October
Don’t get in the way of our official status, PQ warns Liberals
The Parti Québécois on Friday called on Quebec Liberal Leader Dominque Anglade not to oppose the granting of official party status for the PQ in the National Assembly even though the party has failed to meet the necessary criteria.
Bérubé said he had received information the Liberals will also oppose official party status for Québec solidaire in order not to give that party greater visibility. He warned that the work of the National Assembly will suffer if the Liberals maintain their hard line.
To be granted official party status, a party must elect 12 MNAs (about 10 per cent of the National Assembly’s 125 seats) or win at least 20 per cent of the popular vote.
Québec solidaire won 11 seats with 15.4 per cent of the vote, while the PQ’s three seats were won with 14.6 per cent of the vote.

6 October
Ottawa won’t be able to resist Quebec demands for immigration powers, Legault says
Obtaining more powers, specifically over temporary workers and the family reunification program, was a key part of his election campaign.
Trudeau has said several times that Ottawa has no intention of ceding the power to Quebec, but Quebec persists. At one point during the campaign, Legault floated the idea of a referendum on immigration to raise the pressure on the federal government.
Re-elected CAQ is urged to name a minister for anglo relations
The Quebec Community Groups Network says there is a “huge disconnect” between the provincial government and the English-speaking population.
(Montreal Gazette) In a communiqué, QCGN president Eva Ludvig said the anglo community’s opposition to Bill 96 (the reform of the French-language Charter) Bill 21 (banning religious symbols from being worn by civil servants in positions of authority) and Bill 40 (the transformation of Quebec school boards) has left it “concerned about restrictions on our access to education, to health and social services, to the courts, and to government services and information in English.
Ludvig argues that a minister tasked with representing the anglo community within the provincial cabinet “must have a clear mandate and adequate resources to consult with our community, articulate our priorities and concerns, and move forward with a constructive action plan. He or she would also serve as a crucial bridge builder with other ministers and ministries, opening doors for English-speaking community advocates to engage with cabinet colleagues.”

4 October
From health care to climate change, here’s what to expect from a stronger CAQ majority in Quebec
With 2nd majority, François Legault can now turn attention from pandemic to other pressing issues
(CBC) Immigration and the labour shortage
Protecting the French language is a priority for the CAQ, and the party has said in order to do that, it would limit the annual number of immigrants to 50,000.
However, for months, business groups have clamoured for the government to allow more newcomers due to the acute labour shortage in multiple sectors.
Child care and education

‘Our political system is broken’: Quebec opposition parties call for electoral reform
The CAQ won 72 per cent of seats with just 41 per cent of the vote.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault is rejecting calls for electoral reform from opposition parties whose share of the popular vote in Monday’s election failed to translate into a corresponding number of seats.
Parties that have more than 12 members elected or receive at least 20 per cent of the vote automatically receive official party status in Quebec, which gives them more speaking time in the legislature and additional funding.
Legault said Tuesday he is open to giving official party status to parties that failed to meet the threshold, but he will not consider electoral reform
Legault, who promised to reform Quebec’s voting system in 2018 but later said Quebecers were not interested in the change, said the fact that his party received 41 per cent of the vote, while the nearest opposition party received 15 per cent, is a sign of the legitimacy of his mandate.
“I said many times during the election campaign that I’m not open to discussion about our electoral system. I said that I will not open this subject, so I will respect my commitment,” Legault said.
Legault said he plans to meet with the other party leaders to hear both their policy suggestions and their wishes for a role in the legislature, adding that there is a greater spirit of co-operation at the beginning of a government’s mandate. “After the campaign, the next (election) will be only in four years, so we’ll have time at the end of the mandate to restart fighting. Now we have, all of us, to work for all Quebecers.”
Quebec election, Oct. 4: ‘There’s no perfect voting system’ – Legault rules out electoral reform
66% of eligible voters cast ballots – Quebec’s lowest turnout since 2008.
Legault said in his second mandate, his early priorities are to focus on helping Quebecers deal with sky-high inflation, and improving the education and health care systems.
A reporter asked him if he feels he has to rebuild bridges with cultural communities after a campaign marked by controversial CAQ statements about immigration.
In response, Legault said he wants to work with cultural communities, immigrants and the English-speaking population to protect the French language.
“It’s in the interests of everyone” to “save French,” he said.
After the election, what now for the Quebec Liberal Party?
The last time an official opposition party fell so rapidly in the popular vote was in 1919.

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