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  • David Boudeweel-Lefebvre

October news in brief

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

The CAQ's defeat in the Jean-Talon by-election seems to have awakened François Legault's government, which definitely put its foot on the gas pedal in October. Don't want to miss a thing? Then hurry up and read this summary of Québec news, courtesy of the Québec Now team. Happy reading!

A first unfavorable poll for the CAQ

The recent publication of a poll conducted by Léger at the end of October reveals a loss of support for the CAQ, to the benefit of the Parti Québécois (PQ). If an election were called at this time, Premier François Legault would find himself with a minority government. Surprisingly, PQ leader Paul St-Pierre-Plamondon takes the lead when the poll asks about the best candidate for Premier. However, it is important to note that this rise of the PQ is not accompanied by an increase in support for Québec independence, which remains stable at 35%. This trend can be explained by growing dissatisfaction with the current government.

Status quo on immigration thresholds

The CAQ government recently unveiled its plan for immigration by 2025, keeping the annual threshold of 50,000 immigrants unchanged. To this number will be added 6,500 French-speaking foreign students by 2024. This approach contrasts with the initial proposal to increase the thresholds to 60,000 by 2027, a measure supported by the majority of stakeholders during the immigration consultations earlier this fall, who saw higher immigration thresholds as a solution to the labor problem.

The return of the third highway link between Québec City and Lévis

In the wake of his party's defeat in the by-election for Jean Talon, a riding located in the Capitale-Nationale region, Premier François Legault appeared to resurrect the idea of building a third highway link between Québec City and Lévis. This key CAQ promise had been officially abandoned in April, one year after the CAQ's re-election. Is this a new U-turn or just a case of thinking out loud? Stay tuned!

Tuition fees at English-language universities

The Minister responsible for the French language, Jean-François Roberge, will table his long-awaited action plan for the protection of the French language this autumn. He has already unveiled one of the plan's key measures: an increase in tuition fees for foreign students and students from other Canadian provinces. This announcement has provoked passionate reactions, particularly in English Canada. We invite you to read our article on this subject by clicking here.

Programmed obsolescence: law passes unanimously

An increasingly rare occurrence in Québec politics, last month the Québec National Assembly unanimously adopted Bill 29 to curtail programmed obsolescence. This law, which will gradually come into force by October 2025, imposes a series of new obligations on manufacturers of various consumer goods to promote their durability and reparability. This law, the first of its kind in Canada, is likely to inspire other provinces and the federal government to follow suit and introduce similar “right to repair” measures.

No Québec Liberal Party leader before 2025

The Québec Liberal Party has finally made up its mind: Dominique Anglade's successor as party leader will not be named until the spring of 2025. This is a strategic decision, as it will give the Liberals more time to attract a prestigious outside candidate. One such candidate is federal Liberal MP Joël Lightbound, who has expressed interest but wishes to finish his current term as MP for Louis Hébert. This decision has displeased Marguerite-Bourgeoys MNA Frédéric Beauchemin, the only candidate officially in the running, who was pressing for an earlier leadership race. Beauchemin has also been removed from caucus, following harassment allegations lodged by the president of the party’s youth wing.

Squabble over a motion in support of Israel

The Minister of International Relations, Martine Biron, was unable to secure unanimous adoption of a motion denouncing the attacks by Hamas on October 7, which claimed the lives of over a thousand Israelis, mainly civilians. The Parti Québécois and Québec solidaire refused to vote in favor of the motion, arguing that its wording made no reference to Palestinian victims. A missed opportunity to demonstrate that the whole of political Québec can unite on a crucial international issue.

A ”Year 1” budget for an independent Québec

Parti Québecois Leader Paul Saint-Pierre-Plamondon finally delivered on what he promised over a year ago. In late October, the Parti Québécois presented an updated "Budget for Year 1", a document that outlines Québec's public finances in the wake of an eventual separation from the rest of Canada. The Parti Québécois believes that an independent Québec should have a Québec currency and a Québec army, and that it could save billions of dollars by ending overlap with several federal departments. Premier François Legault was quick to criticize the initiative, pointing to the potential job losses that would result from a sovereign Québec's loss of federal spending.

Economic update coming soon

Finance Minister Éric Girard has officially confirmed that he will present an economic update on November 7. Those hoping for new financial aid from the government should be disappointed: while inflation continues to rage, the Minister has already closed the door on new tax breaks. He has, however, shown himself open to new measures for specific sectors, such as housing, homelessness and climate change. Our clients can look forward to a full report on this important fiscal update.


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