Québec’s new government is ready to roll!
Québec’s new National Assembly, elected at the general election held on Oct. 3, has been summoned to meet on Nov. 29 at 2 p.m. This first sitting will mark the beginning of the 1st Session of the 43rd Legislature. On Oct. 20, Premier François Legault unveiled his new cabinet, signalling the priorities of his re-elected government ahead of the next legislative session.
A large pool to choose from
With his Coalition Avenir Québec winning 90 of the legislature’s 125 seats in the election, Premier Legault was faced with a difficult puzzle for assembling his new cabinet. His choice was mercifully made a bit easier due to the defeat of a few candidates, who he would have likely made ministers if elected.
An emphasis on competence and continuity
Returning to power with high approval ratings and an even stronger new mandate, Premier Legault chose not to rock the boat too much. He kept in their positions his senior ministers of finance, health, economy, treasury, environment, and justice, making a change in education, public safety, and transportation. In total, only nine newly elected MNAs were added to his cabinet, while 13 kept their portfolios and another seven previous ministers changed position.
While time will tell, the premier has likely struck the right balance between preserving stability and bringing new ideas to the table. Of course, some would have preferred additional changes, and more of an overhaul of the cabinet than an emphasis on continuity. But with solid election results and many things to do, it made sense to keep big players in their big portfolios.
The complete list of Legault’s new cabinet members can be found here: quebec.ca/en/premier/team/members-of-cabinet
Over the next few months, Québec's new government will primarily need to focus on addressing healthcare challenges and mitigating the effects of inflation. We expect a significant economic update this fall, including cheques for most people earning less than $100,000, as well as investments in programs that help people in lower income brackets. Health Minister Christian Dubé has already got to work announcing reforms to reduce emergency room overcrowding, and will likely continue to move forward with his modernization of the province’s mostly inefficient healthcare system.
The second term of the governing Coalition Avenir Québec will also bring some internal challenges. Some MNAs would have liked to become ministers, and the premier will need to reassure them that they are not waiting in vain. While opposition parties are returning to the legislature weaker than before, that’s not necessarily good news, as when this happens, opposition tends to come from within a government’s own ranks. Another challenge for the CAQ will be to manage the precarious balance between being a nationalist government and promoting economic growth. Negotiating between the needs of immigration, the environment, economic development, and participation in the Canadian federation will be complicated at times, and, in the end, will tell us where this new government really stands.