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  • David Boudeweel-Lefebvre

Premier Legault lays out government priorities in inaugural speech


At the start of every new session of the National Assembly, Québec’s premier delivers an inaugural speech to the legislature — equivalent to a throne speech — sharing the government’s intended priorities. Premier François Legault delivered his opening remarks to the 43rd session of the National Assembly on Nov. 30, almost two months after his Coalition Avenir Québec was re-elected with a large majority. Here are the key priorities he highlighted in his speech.


Economy

Legault reiterated the need to reduce the wealth gap between Québec and Ontario and confirmed the will, in the short term, to help Quebecers fight inflation — notably with direct financial aid in the form of cheques, and a cap on tax rates for individuals.


In the medium term, he mentioned a tax cut, starting in the spring of 2023, without specifying whether it would be aimed solely at individuals or at businesses as well. Focusing on local purchasing, he said he wanted to ensure that the government sets an example by giving preference to Québec suppliers whenever possible.


The premier also indicated his intention to pursue the development of innovation zones in various regions of Québec and to support applied research.


Energy transition

The premier made a point of pointing out that in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, Québec is a leader. Nevertheless, the province must go further. Considering that the environment is a perceived weakness of his government, it is not surprising that this part of the speech was rather long. However, the premier revealed few new commitments. The government intends to continue to focus on the development of the battery industry and the use of hydroelectricity in economic development.


Other key issues

Premier Legault also discussed labour shortages, investments in health care, the modernization of the state and the role of the private sector in health care and education. He also continued to emphasize the need for job creation to ensure a more prosperous Québec.


His speech touched very little on immigration, emphasizing his government’s continued focus on integration and preserving the French language.


Analysis

Setting the tone for his government’s second mandate with a strong economic focus, Legault’s inaugural speech to the 43rd session of the National Assembly, on the whole, remained faithful to the CAQ's credo since 2018: a prouder, more prosperous and greener Quebec.


If the premier’s comments about the need to ensure stronger protection of the French language were sincere and heartfelt, identity issues seem even more front and centre for his government at the dawn of his second term.


It is interesting to note that during his speech, the premier rarely mentioned the government’s opposition parties, with the notable exception of the leader of Québec solidaire.


Disappointingly, while the challenge of Québec’s shrinking workforce was referenced numerous times in his speech, few concrete means were put forward by the premier to counteract rising labour shortages, particularly in the private sector.


The full text of Legault’s opening remarks to the legislature can be accessed here: assnat.qc.ca/fr/travaux-parlementaires/assemblee-nationale/43-1/journal-debats/20221130/337781.html


Stay tuned for more

With the 43rd session of Québec’s National Assembly now underway, we look forward to keeping you updated on government news and sharing insights on important developments.

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