Premier François Legault announced his new Cabinet as he heads into a second term with an even bigger majority. Legault kept the key economic files of Finance, Economy and Treasury Board as well as Health in familiar hands, with some new names in major files like Education and Higher Education, Immigration, Transport and Public Security.
McMillan Vantage is here with what you need to know, when you need it most, including who’s in this new Cabinet, how to engage them, and what today’s announcement means for you.
Who’s Who and Who’s What
|Geneviève Guilbault||Transport, sustainable mobility, deputy premier|
|Éric Girard||Finance, relations with English-speaking Quebecers|
|Sonia LeBel||Treasury Board President|
|Pierre Fitzgibbon||Economy, innovation, energy, regional economic development, Montreal region|
|Christine Fréchette||Immigration, francization, integration|
|Pascale Déry||Higher education|
|Benoit Charette||Environment, climate change, wildlife and parks|
|Kateri Champagne Jourdain||Employment|
|Andrée Laforest||Municipal affairs|
|Mathieu Lacombe||Culture, communications, youth|
|Martine Biron||International relations, Francophonie, women|
|Jean-François Roberge||French language, relations with rest of Canada, secularism|
|Lionel Carmant||Social services|
|André Lamontagne||Agriculture, fisheries|
|Ian Lafrenière||Relations with First Nations, Inuit|
|François Bonnardel||Public security|
|Chantal Rouleau||Social solidarity, community action|
|Maïté Blanchette Vézina||Natural resources, forests|
|Christopher Skeete||Junior economic minister, fight against racism|
What Legault Was Thinking
Premier Legault made it clear that Christian Dubé would remain as Health Minister with a number of major reforms being promised.
He also made it clear that he would retain the main economic players in their roles: Eric Girard is well respected as Minister of Finance, and will continue to keep budgets running minimal deficits while making sure to get $400-$600 cheques out the door to Quebecers earning under $100,000 to help offset the rising cost of living.
Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon keeps his role as Minister of Economy and Innovation but adds additional responsibilities for Energy (responsible for Hydro Quebec), as well as responsibilities for Montreal. The message here is that Legault is looking for his government to focus economic growth opportunities through investments in clean tech and industries looking to take advantage of Quebec’s clean hydroelectricity.
Maïté Blanchette Vézina, a new MNA from Rimouski and former local mayor is the new Minister of Natural resources and Forests. Natural Resources had previously been combined with Energy.
Jonathan Julien, who was Minister of Natural Resources and Energy becomes the Minister of Infrastructure, a new role in Quebec.
Sonia Lebel maintains her role as President of the Treasury Board. However, her role as Minister responsible for Canadian Relations (Intergovernmental Affairs) moves to former minister of Education Jean-François Roberge. Roberge also adds the role of Minister of the French language, which used to belong to Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette. This will definitely suggest a change of tone with regard to the French language, although probably less so in terms of policy changes.
Geneviève Guilbault remains Deputy Premier, and swaps her role of Public Security with François Bonnardel’s responsibilities for Transport. Guilbault will inherit hot button issues at Transport including the third link tunnel project between Quebec City and Lévis, and major projects in Montreal.
Benoit Charette remains Minister of the Environment, and Eric Caire remains Minister of Cybersecurity and Digital Technology.
At immigration, Legault has placed newly elected Christine Fréchette, who comes to the file with a business development background. Fréchette is the former President of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Montreal and was previously the Director of External and Institutional relations for Montreal International. She is an interesting choice at immigration, in that it suggests Legault sees immigration as connected to economic development, in the context of a serious labour shortage. Legault has focused a lot on getting additional immigration powers for the provincial government and it will be interesting to see the role that Fréchette plays.
In a related file with regard to the labour shortage, Kateri Champagne Jourdain is the new Minister of Employment. Champagne Jourdain is the first Innu and first indigenous woman to be elected in Quebec. She too has a background in the business world, as a Board member of Desjardins and of the Chamber of Commerce of Sept-Îles, and as Director of Outreach for Boralex’s Apuiat wind energy project.
Bernard Drainville is the new Minister of Education. Drainville is a former journalist and media personality and was also previously a Parti Québécois Minister in Pauline Marois’ government 2012-14. The newly elected Drainville is a relative heavyweight and this confirms Legault’s reference on election night that education is his top priority. The Minister of Higher Education is Pascale Dery, another former journalist newly elected.
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