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Several orange cones on the road to summer for the CAQ

Several orange cones on the road to summer for the CAQ



Despite a less chaotic session end than last winter, the CAQ (Coalition avenir Québec) government leaves for the beautiful season with several projects unfinished.

Whether it is education, health, transport, energy, construction, housing or immigration, the government has embarked on several major reforms and projects in the hope of generating long-term results. Giving ourselves additional authority means, at the very least, delaying the delivery of tangible outcomes and pleading with people for patience in the expectation that public service enhancements will only get better. Having said that, François Legault must quickly demonstrate that he is on the right track. Quebecers are looking for tangible outcomes and based on the sentiment shown in the polls since the previous election, they do not believe they are getting what they want.

In an unexpected turn of events, François Legault made a solemn declaration in the Salon bleu, announcing the formation of a committee of experts to examine how the government can increase Quebec's autonomy within Canada. The committee will be co-chaired by former Liberal minister Sébastien Proulx and law professor Guillaume Rousseau. Mr. Legault's announcement sets the stage for a meeting to discuss immigration between François Legault and Justin Trudeau early next week in Quebec City.

On the eve of the end of the parliamentary session, Pierre Fitzgibbon tabled his long-awaited bill on energy resource governance. The Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy must find a way to meet Quebec’s energy needs. This wide-ranging piece of legislation will be adopted as of next fall.

In the field of health, the first sections of Health Quebec were set up with the appointment of Geneviève Biron as president and chief executive officer. During the summer, the “top gun” will have to take the time to train its management team while the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, will need to find a way to reach an agreement with the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ) and the Fédération des médecins omnipraticiens du Québec (FMOQ). In the absence of agreement with the nurses and family doctors, it will be difficult for Mr. Dubé to fully implement his reform.

Meanwhile, to ease the pressure on the health system, Sonia LeBel,Chair of the Conseil du Trésor du Québec,tabled Bill 67 to expand the powers of certain professionals such as pharmacists and psychologists.

Furthermore, the CAQ government hopes that the federal government will finally recognize that Quebec is doing more than its share in welcoming asylum seekers and temporary immigrants. The meeting scheduled next Monday between François Legault and Justin Trudeau will be decisive on the capacity of education and health networks to meet the needs of the population.

Regaining harmony with municipalities

At the UMQ (Union des municipalités du Québec) Assemblies last May, François Legault used humour to try to relax the atmosphere, after describing municipal representatives as “beggars.” Despite this warming in relations between the government and municipalities, the issue of public transport will still be talked about this summer. Before the return of the parliamentary session Geneviève Guilbault, the Minister of Transport and Sustainable Mobility, will have to sell the newly established agency, Mobilité Infra Québec. Additionally, she will need to negotiate for money to make up the losses of transportation around the province.

The publication of the report of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec Infra on mobility in the Quebec region, scheduled for next week, will push the CAQ government to position itself after putting the tramway file on the ice. A decision that will be especially important for the future of the Caquist elected in the National Capital region.

Recognizing that major infrastructure and construction projects are turning around, the government is keen to accelerate them and reduce their costs. Thus, the CAQ places great hope in the bill presented by Minister Jonatan Julien. If one welcomes the step in the right direction and the commendable intentions, questions remain, on the granting of offshore contracts when a tender would not have found a buyer. For his part, Minister Jean Boulet can enjoy a victory with the adoption of his legislative piece on labour mobility in the construction sector.

Minister France-Élaine Duranceau may also be pleased to conclude the session on a good note in the case of tenants' evictions. After refusing to address this issue directly with Bill 31, Ms. Duranceau finally decided to strengthen the "Françoise David's law." While this new legislation has allowed the Minister of Housing to rebuild her self-image, this bill is also a victory for the elected member of Québec solidaire.

Electoral Humour

Despite a few successes and a session where the word “discipline” in public statements and team cohesion has visibly yielded fruit, the CAQ is still in second place in voting intentions behind the Parti québécois. The coming months will be an opportunity for the Prime Minister to ask himself whether he has the right players around the Council of Ministers table. Mr. Legault hates breaking cards, but could sudden departure force his hand?

Meanwhile, the other political formations in the National Assembly will also have bread on the board. The Parti québécois, which is stagnating in the polls, will have to see how Paul St-Pierre Plamondon can remain in the lead position. For the Liberal Party of Quebec, the race to the chief will accelerate, and we will have a better idea of the candidates on the starting line in early autumn. For Québec Solidaire, the summer will be used to collect the broken pots following the departure of Emilis Lessard-Therrien. A new female co-spokesperson will be elected in November.

Thus, regardless of the political formation, the summer will be the time for major reflections in preparation for the upcoming session. The pressure will be tenfold for François Legault, considering that, he will have to make the most decisive choices for the future of his political career and of Quebec.

Certainly, François Legault and his team will have to avoid getting stuck among the orange cones. They have no choice but to move forward at high speed to finish projects that are still under construction.

Of course, the Public Affairs and Government Relations team at NATIONAL will follow everything closely until the elected members return to the National Assembly on September 10th. Do not hesitate to consult your advisor to see what awaits you by the time you return to parliament.