JWG via DTN 15 January 2023 JT and Rae have been reading the tar baby saga and are trying hard…
Quebec post 2022 elections – December 2023
Anglo and exhausted; it’s been a tough 2023
Stephen Cohen teaches physics at Vanier College and is the author of Getting Physics: Nature’s Laws as a Guide to Life.
Over the course of this year, the harm imposed by new Quebec policies has permeated many important facets of my life. Here are three.
As a CEGEP teacher, I have only begun to see the effects of Law 14 (Bill 96), which imposes major changes on the academic path at anglophone colleges. It affects exit exams and course requirements, places a heavy burden on teachers and students, and most disturbingly, divides students into two categories — those with a certificate of eligibility and those without.
My alma mater
As a McGill graduate, I worry about the consequences that the sudden tuition hikes and other new requirements for students from out of province will have on my beloved former institution. I never realized how dear it was to my heart, how closely connected it was to my identity, until it came under threat.
As a homeowner, I worry about the long-term effect that backward policies will have on the value of my investment. My family loves this city and we have anchored our ship here, but it is disheartening to have to continually ask ourselves if it is sinking.
Toula Drimonis: The rise and fall of François Legault
The CAQ leader has gone from the most popular premier in Canada to the least. Has his bag of tricks run dry?
Premier François Legault’s approval rating has plummeted. “Suddenly more people are noticing that long-festering issues around health care, education and housing haven’t been resolved,” Toula Drimonis says. “In some cases, they have become substantially worse.”
It looks like the accountability that Premier François Legault has largely evaded until now has finally caught up with him. The chickens — mostly kept away by polarizing reforms and crowd-pleasing populist moves — have come home to roost.
Is this the beginning of the end for François Legault?
The Quebec premier was first elected in 2018 on promises of political stability and better economic management, but has since suffered a series of devastating self-inflicted wounds.
(Hill Times subscription) These are not easy times for Quebec Premier François Legault and his Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government. While the premier managed to be seen as everyone’s favourite uncle during the COVID-19 pandemic, his avuncular ways have begun to wear a bit thin.
A Dec. 4 Angus Reid poll showed Legault as the least popular premier in Canada, with 31 per cent support. The decline was substantial: Legault was at 47 per cent in September.
There is a long (dirty) laundry list of reasons for this quick decline: the disingenuous promise of a “third link” bridge or tunnel for Quebec City, which was never intended; Bill 15, the new legislation to centralize health care, opposed publicly by the last six Quebec premiers.
But the really devastating self-inflicted wounds were the decision to increase salaries of members of the national assembly by 30 per cent, and the offer of $7-million to the Los Angeles Kings to come to Quebec City to play a couple of meaningless pre-season hockey games next fall. All this in the midst of ongoing labour negotiations with a union common front. …
Legault’s decline began after an October byelection in Quebec City. Suffering a devastating loss to the Parti Québécois, Legault doubled down on nationalism, calling for increased tuition fees for out-of-province students at English universities. That only drew criticism, and PQ Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon has now taken the lead in popularity.
This desire to centralize has been a hallmark of Legault’s government. Bill 15 is the latest of a series of laws designed to put power in the hands of Quebec City bureaucrats. There has been Bill 40, which sought to eliminate school boards; Bill 23 to control school administrators; Bill 96 took away the rights of English speakers; and Bill 21 removed the right of people who wear religious apparel to work in the public service.
In the early days of his government, when Bill 21 was passed, Legault taped a speech to “the Quebec nation,” explaining why the law’s blatant discrimination was a good thing. He finished with a dismissive and very colloquial comment that reeked of his arrogance: “Because that is the way we live in Quebec.”
While most leaders would look at the track record and fix what is broken, I don’t think Legault has that kind of objectivity. He now has three years before the next election to figure that out. If he loses, it will more than likely be to the resurgent Parti Québécois. Which would mean another national unity angst fest.
Because that is the way we live in Quebec.
Allison Hanes: What will happen to English community as Legault’s Teflon wears off?
Anglos have further reason to be concerned now that François Legault’s CAQ government has taken a hit in the polls.
It’s not so much that the sovereignist PQ is poised for an imminent return to power and putting the nationalist question back on the agenda. To keep things in perspective, the next election is still three years away and the PQ has only four seats in the National Assembly.
It’s what a directionless and desperate Legault might do in response as the PQ, once written off for dead, sets the tone for the official opposition, even if it currently has only third-opposition party status behind the Liberals and Québec solidaire.
Robert Libman: Legault in a jam against teachers and nurses
In the PR war for Quebecers’ support, the premier has shot himself in the foot with recent decisions that have damaged his credibility.
Who will yield first — the government, or the “common-front” of unions representing over 400,000 public sector workers, including teachers and health care professionals?
Union members took to the streets this week for a series of strikes to press their contract demands, which include higher wages and better working conditions. The government has offered them a pay hike of 10 per cent over five years, which the unions say is not enough, as it doesn’t even cover inflation.
Like many of these labour negotiations, public opinion plays a key role in determining how stubbornly the government can dig in its heels.
Many people may not be too fond of union tactics or the brash persona of some of their leaders, but almost everybody believes nurses and teachers deserve better pay. But to pay them what they deserve, the government must find the money in its budget, and of course taxpayers ultimately foot the bill. The government is caught in the paradox between the cost to taxpayers of absorbing a big increase in public sector salaries, and the belief by those same taxpayers that these professions need to be paid more.
… The quality of our critical education and health care sectors and their ability to attract qualified personnel cannot afford to be weakened any further; otherwise, there is a risk of creating more social and economic damage. Employees who feel more valued are more productive. Investing in a more motivated public workforce — instead of one that feels cheated and underpaid — will pay long-term dividends. This trickle-down economic effect far outweighs the cost of current salary demands.
Toula Drimonis: Culture of privilege undermines public trust
Faith in public institutions — fragile at the best of times — is being harmed by the goings-on at Montreal city hall and in Quebec City.
If Quebecers are feeling a little jaded these days, I can’t blame them. It’s been a rough few months, what with flip-flopping politicians and public servants appearing increasingly disconnected from the people they serve. After dangling up to $7 million to lure an NHL team owned by billionaires to play two meaningless pre-season games in Quebec City, the Coalition Avenir Québec government continues to play hardball with teachers and public health care workers during contract negotiations.
Richard Martineau: Le Québec est numéro 1!
Champion de l’inflation, des taxes et des impôts!
(Journal de Montréal) En effet, selon les calculs effectués ces derniers mois par Michel Girard et les journalistes de la section Argent du Journal, le Québec est le champion canadien de l’inflation.
Le champion des taxes et des impôts.
Le champion de l’aide aux entreprises.
La deuxième province en ce qui a trait aux dépenses gouvernementales.
QCGN seeks to intervene in appeal of Bill 40 decision
Last week, the QCGN submitted an application to the Quebec Court of Appeal for leave to intervene in the appeal of a Quebec Superior Court ruling that declared parts of Bill 40 were unconstitutional. Bill 40, An Act to amend mainly the Education Act with regard to school organization and governance abolished school boards, creating service centres and transferred significant responsibility to manage and control schools to the Minister of Education. In August, Justice Sylvain Lussier struck down several sections of Bill 40 because they infringed on Section 23 rights (minority language educational rights) contained in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Government of Quebec is appealing that decision. Following a recent Board decision, the QCGN is applying to intervene to address the following issues:
Quebec’s Anticosti Island named UNESCO World Heritage Site
Anticosti Island, a large island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The designation adds an additional layer of protection to the geologically unique, sparsely populated island that is part of a proposed biodiversity reserve
One of Quebec’s natural treasures, which holds ancient evidence of the first global mass extinction of animal life on Earth, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Anticosti Island was officially recognized worldwide for its exceptional fossil assemblage by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in Saudi Arabia Tuesday morning.
The island is a massive stretch of rocky land that is located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and is 17 times the size of the island of Montreal.
It is home to the most complete fossil record of marine life of Earth’s history between 447 and 437 million years ago — a period that was not yet represented on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
There are currently more than 1,440 known fossil species on Anticosti Island from that time period. They demonstrate changes in global climate and sea level that caused the extinction of almost all ocean life on the planet
Bill 40: Quebec files appeal of Superior Court decision on English school boards
The CAQ government’s motion for an appeal lists more than a dozen arguments to support their request.
Quebec’s attorney general has filed the CAQ government’s appeal of a Superior Court decision delivered in August that determined legislation designed to turn English-language school boards into school service centres is unconstitutional and violates the rights of the province’s English-speaking community.
Despite pleas from politicians and the heads of English school boards calling on the provincial government to accept and respect the Superior Court decision, Premier François Legault announced last week his government would file an appeal.
Liberals support CAQ plan to not send cheques to Quebecers
(CTV News) Interim Quebec Liberal leader Marc Tanguay welcomes a change of strategy by the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ). Tanguay salue la nouvelle stratégie de la CAQ
The provincial government has jettisoned the idea of sending cheques out en masse to Quebecers in favour of more selective, targeted measures. In a series of interviews published today, Finance Minister Eric Girard serves notice he would not be sending out any more mass cheques this autumn to taxpayers grappling with the staggering rise in the cost of living.
Les enveloppes de maman Legault
New Quebec rules on short-term rental sites take effect Sept. 1
Airbnb says it is working to meet the deadline to verify registration numbers.
“Platforms that have 8,000, 10,000 or 12,000 online ads, rest assured that Revenu Québec, on Sept. 1, will have an eye on you,” says Quebec Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx.
Certain rules of Bill 25, aimed at combating illegal tourist accommodation in Quebec, will come into force on Sept. 1. Offending platforms could have to pay up to $100,000 per illegal ad.
As of Sept. 1, digital platforms like Airbnb will be prohibited from showing a listing that does not contain a registration number and expiration date linked to a certificate.
Quebec Liberals seek $1-million bailout for Métro Média
The publisher announced a week ago it was suspending the operations of newspaper Métro and its more than 20 community newspapers in Montreal and Quebec City.
The Liberals say the $1 million will help Métro Média complete its digital transformation over the next six months. The company had previously asked in vain for $500,000, but with the update of the expenses incurred and after discussions with the people from Métro Média, the Liberals concluded that $1 million is required.
Hanes: Judgment on English school boards is a warning to Legault government
The Quebec Superior Court judgment invalidating much of Bill 40 is a boost for minority rights and serves notice to governments that willfully ignore them.
Amid all the doom and gloom of the past year over how Quebec’s sweeping law to strengthen French has eroded the rights of the English-speaking minority, it’s easy to forget the Legault government’s original sin against the anglophone community.
Before there was Bill 96 — and after there was Bill 21, which curtailed the rights of religious minorities working certain jobs in the public service — Premier François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec showed its true colours when it introduced Bill 40.
Ostensibly intended to do away with useless bureaucracy and give parents more say by turning school boards into service centres, the government ignored the pleas of the English-speaking community that it would undermine our constitutionally protected right to manage and control our own schools.
The Legault government made a few cosmetic concessions and offered a few empty promises that those rights would be respected (lip service that has become a trend for the CAQ). Then it plowed ahead with Bill 40 anyway.
Cue a constitutional challenge by nine English school boards and their umbrella group, the Quebec English School Boards Association, which won an injunction to continue business as usual in the interim while their French counterparts were neutered into compliant service centres.
Although it took a long time, the decision rendered Wednesday by Quebec Superior Court Justice Sylvain Lussier was worth the wait.
It recognized that Bill 40 infringes upon the anglophone community’s rights, as outlined in Article 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and nullified parts of the law. It’s a legal victory for English-speaking Quebecers, local democracy and the autonomy of schools.
The judgment only pertains to Bill 40. But it nevertheless offers many pearls of wisdom that speak to the broader context in which minority rights are under attack in Quebec.
The judge calls out the government for wilfully ignoring minority rights while pretending to listen.
Quebec’s English school board reform is unconstitutional, court rules
Bill 40 unreasonably limits the protected rights of the anglophone minority to manage its education system, according to a Quebec Superior Court decision.
Quebec’s desire to transform English-language school boards into school service centres, as it did on the French-speaking side, is unconstitutional and violates the rights of the province’s English-speaking community, Quebec Superior Court has ruled.
In a 125-page judgment handed down on Wednesday, Judge Sylvain Lussier invalidated many articles of Bill 40, “An Act to amend mainly the Education Act with regard to school organization and governance” — adopted in 2020 by the Legault government, but whose application had been suspended pending a decision on its merits.
In his decision, Lussier is clear: “The court considers that several of the articles covered by this action infringe upon the rights of Article 23 and that these infringements are not justified.”
‘A huge win’ for English school boards: Court strikes down parts of Quebec’s Bill 40
(CTV) A group representing English-language school boards in Quebec is applauding a Superior Court judgment that struck down several sections of the province’s controversial Bill 40.
In a ruling issued Wednesday, Justice Sylvain Lussier said English school boards in Quebec have the right to manage their own schools and that the bill went too far to try to abolish them.
Bill 40 was adopted in the National Assembly in 2020 and turned the school boards into school service centres. Less than six months later, parts of the bill that applied to English boards were suspended by Quebec Superior Court while a legal challenge made its way through the court.
After hearing the case on its merits, the court ruled in favour of the English school boards by striking down parts of the law.
NB Perri Ravon, lawyer for the English Montreal School Board (EMSB)
14 April 2021
Legal challenge begins into English school board survival in Quebec
Quebec’s Superior Court on began hearing the legal challenge to Bill 40 on school governance on Wednesday.
The bill abolished school boards and replaced them with service centres, giving more power to parents’ committees in school service centres.
However, school boards were maintained for English speakers as they battle the bill in court.
The English school boards are arguing the bill is unconstitutional, because minority groups in Canada have the right to manage their own institutions, guaranteed by section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“English school boards have the independence and autonomy to challenge certain government decisions, to push back when we believe those decisions are not completely appropriate for our network,” said Russell Copeman of the Quebec English Language School Boards Association.
The QESBA, which includes the nine English school boards, sees this as an important battle to defend the rights of anglophones and control their institutions.
Quebec Tables Bill on Planned Obsolescence and Right to Repair
On June 1, 2023, the Government of Quebec tabled Bill 29 (Bill), an Act to protect consumers from planned obsolescence and to promote the durability, repairability and maintenance of goods, before the National Assembly of Quebec. The Bill proposes important amendments to Quebec’s existing Consumer Protection Act. If passed, the Bill will impose new restrictions, warranties and disclosure obligations on merchants and manufacturers selling goods to consumers in Quebec.
Quebec is snapping defeat from the jaws of victory
By Beryl Wajsman
Last week, Quebec’s Provincial Employment Roundtable (PERT) revealed in a report that the unemployment gap between francophones and anglophones in Quebec doubled between the 2016 and 2021. … This is not about speaking French. This is about being French in order to get the better jobs and promotions or any jobs or promotions for that matter. … The report is significant for two reasons. First, it demonstrates that Quebec’s language policies have put Francophones far ahead of Anglophones, regardless of ability to speak French. Second, these policies have institutionalized a knee-jerk prejudice against hiring and promoting many who are not Francophone de souche. Either because of individual discrimination or the desire by companies to get more Quebec funding.
The ethno-centric nationalist nature of the current Quebec administration has already added to the exodus out of the province. Additionally, there has been no significant economic growth or foreign investment. The great warnings — particularly with Bill 96 — was that more laws and regulations enforcing French would drive away foreign investors who are not interested in jurisdictions with burdensome compliance standards. On a human level, investors from the English speaking world — the largest source of investment — want their children educated in English.
Unemployment gap between French, English speakers increases in Quebec
The rate for English speakers is 10.9 per cent compared with 6.9 per cent for francophone speakers.
A new study shows while the number of English-speaking Quebecers has grown over the last five years, they have a higher unemployment rate and are more likely to live in poverty than their francophone fellow citizens.
The study notes that not only do English speakers have a higher unemployment rate, they are also more likely to work in temporary positions, with fewer average weeks and more part-time jobs than French speakers.
Konrad Yakabuski: François Legault’s anti-immigration crusade is coming back to bite him
Mr. Legault weaponized the immigration file to win power in 2018, and again in 2022. It would be more than ironic if the issue ends up becoming the CAQ’s undoing as the PQ lives to fight another day, if not another referendum.
François Legault won near-unanimous approval from the party faithful at Coalition Avenir Québec’s weekend convention on Sunday. Fully 98.6 per cent of the nearly 1,000 CAQ members who attended the event reaffirmed their confidence in the CAQ co-founder, who clinched a decisive second mandate as Quebec Premier in a general election just seven months ago.
Even so, the Soviet-style endorsement by CAQ members was a hollow victory for Mr. Legault. It demonstrated the utter lack of intellectual depth or curiosity within the 12-year-old party that once aimed to reform Quebec.
A May 2 Léger poll conducted for TVA showed CAQ support in the greater Quebec City area plummeting by 14 percentage points (to 26 per cent) since February. Most surprisingly, the sovereigntist Parti Québécois surged into first place in the region, with 28 per cent support, an eight-point gain. The PQ is now in second place provincewide, with 22 per cent compared to the CAQ’s 36 per cent. The online poll of 1,200 respondents did not carry a margin of error, but the trend is unmistakable.
Maudite McGill – renewed criticism about funding for English-language universities
There is renewed grumbling in Quebec about English-language universities have ‘too much money’ and an unfair advantage over French-language universities
In the wake of Bill 96, we are once again hearing grumbling about Anglo universities and CEGEPs having too much money and too many students. Economist Pierre Fortin wrote an analysis in L’Actualité (Riches universités Anglophones) about the ‘unequal distribution’ of funds between Quebec’s universities. The three Anglo universities (McGill, Concordia and Bishop’s) have larger per capita budgets than all of the French-language universities. This is surprising, but is it a problem?
Temporary foreign workers are contributing to anglicization of Quebec, Roberge says
The new Francisation Québec agency will help temporary and permanent immigrants learn French, Quebec’s languages minister says.
Allison Hanes: Quebec doubles down on its school governance failures
Quebec has a seemingly unquenchable thirst for centralizing authority, be it in education or health care. This the most blatant example yet.
The dust hasn’t even settled after Quebec’s last botched attempt to reform the governance of schools and the government of Premier François Legault is embarking on a new round of needless upheaval by tabling Bill 23 last week in the National Assembly
There are so many problems with this legislation that it’s hard to know where to begin. Suffice it to say the bill not only seeks to eradicate any remaining vestiges of independent thought in the administration of Quebec’s education system (or at least the French side), but concentrates unparalleled authority in the minister’s office, picks a new fight with the English-speaking community and thumbs its nose at the justice system — all in one tidy 33-page package.
Since Education Minister Bernard Drainville indicated Thursday that he intends to apply the new law to English schools, it threatens to open a new front in the Legault government’s war on the rights of Quebec’s anglophone community, while adding new fodder to the constitutional challenge. For starters, Bill 23 would snatch away the authority to appoint school board (and service centre) directors general — something the English community considers the sine qua non of its sacrosanct management and control rights.
Quebec seeks power to veto decisions, appoint school service centre directors in latest education reform
Bill 23, tabled Thursday, is CAQ’s 2nd major education reform in 3 years
(CBC) Seeking more power over the province’s education system, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government has tabled a bill that, if passed, would allow it to appoint a director for each school service centre and veto some of their decisions.
Education Minister Bernard Drainville tabled Bill 23 at the National Assembly on Thursday morning.
The proposed legislation would also force service centres to strike annual “management and accountability” agreements with the education minister. Education objectives would be outlined in those agreements.
New education bill is met with outrage from Quebec anglophone groups
Drainville confirmed Thursday at a news conference that his proposed legislation designed to give the government greater control over Quebec’s 62 francophone service centres — created by Bill 40 which abolished the school board structure — would indeed be extended to apply to the nine anglophone boards..
(The Gazette) New legislation giving the Education Ministry the power to name the directors general of English school boards and even annul their decisions is a further infringement on the English-speaking community’s right to manage its school system, groups said Thursday.
Bill 23, tabled by Education Minister Bernard Drainville in the legislature Thursday, is “another attempt by this government not only to centralize power but also remove our communities’ rights to manage and control our institutions by virtue of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” said Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) president Dan Lamoureux.
…Drainville confirmed Thursday at a news conference that his proposed legislation designed to give the government greater control over Quebec’s 62 francophone service centres — created by Bill 40 which abolished the school board structure — would indeed be extended to apply to the nine anglophone boards.
In the bill, Drainville goes further than just giving himself the power to replace management. If adopted, Quebec will be able to negotiate annual management accountability agreements with each service centre and school board. These agreements would be designed to set targets for student success.
Konrad Yakabuski: Quebec’s top language cop targets franglais
Quebec’s minister responsible for promoting and protecting French recently released a public service announcement on television and social media aimed at getting young people to clean up their language. According to Jean-François Roberge, the province’s top language cop, the tongue-in-cheek spot is meant to raise awareness among francophone teens about the dangers of sprinkling their sentences with too many English words. …
Collective hand-wringing about the future of French in their province has made Quebeckers especially touchy about the creeping influence of English. Franglais – the distinctive patois that mixes French and English words in the same sentence – has nevertheless been a fact of life in French Canada since at least the Conquest. Not everyone has a problem with that. For some, it is simply a reflection of the francophone reality in North America. To others, it is an existential threat. …
In January, Mr. Roberge created an Action Group on the Future of the French Language aimed at improving the quality of oral and written French in the province. Last month’s ad campaign was part of that effort. But he will need to come up with something a lot more “chill” to bring young Quebeckers on board.
Matthew Aronson: Suppressing English won’t achieve goal of promoting French
Montreal’s multilingualism and multiculturalism are significant assets — for all of Quebec.
The Gazette’s recent feature* about Montreal’s success in attracting prestigious international organizations reads like the feel-good story of the month, if not the year. Employing large numbers of highly paid workers, drawing the world to the city, putting Montreal “on the map” is great news — for Montreal and Quebec.
Quebecers should celebrate these facts. Premier François Legault’s government should be jubilant about attracting and maintaining a sector that is stable, largely recession-proof and that brings in nearly $400 million annually to Montreal’s (and Quebec’s) economy, while employing 2,100 people
*Quebec bends language laws to lure international agencies to Montreal
Economic spinoffs are so strong, the Legault government has been willing to offer exemptions on the use of English to keep them headquartered here, even as it cracks down with Bill 96.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
English-language school boards argue Quebec’s secularism law should not apply to them
Lawyer for EMSB argues religious diversity is part of cultural DNA of boards
English-language school boards argued before the Quebec Court of Appeal Wednesday they should be exempt from Quebec’s secularism law — known as Bill 21 — because religious diversity is part of the cultural heritage of English schools in Quebec.
“The examples are countless as to the way religious diversity is celebrated in English schools. It’s part of the schools’ DNA,” Perri Ravon, lawyer for the English Montreal School Board (EMSB), told the court.
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
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.
She says the party faces “numerous challenges,” including the need to reconnect with francophone voters “while remaining true to its values.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.