Quebec’s new Premier, François Legault, has unveiled his cabinet. Legault’s choice of Ministers confirms that his government will focus on the economy, immigration, and education.
He has kept his cabinet at a small-ish 26 ministers with an equal representation of 13 men and 13 women. This is down from 31 ministers in former Premier Philippe Couillard’s government.
The big takeaway is that three veteran Quebec businessmen have been chosen to run the key economic portfolios – three people known and respected in Montreal and who will have the confidence of the Quebec business establishment, known as “Quebec Inc.”
Former Senior Vice President of Corporate Treasury at the National Bank Éric Girard will be Minister of Finance. Pierre Fitzgibbon, a Harvard MBA who has held numerous senior positions in finance, will be Minister of Economy, and former Caisse de dépôt (Quebec pension fund) senior VP Christian Dubé will be President of the Treasury Board.
Chantal Rouleau, one of the two MNA’s elected in Montreal and sitting Mayor of Pointe-aux-Trembles, will be Minister responsible for Montreal and Minister of State for Transportation. She will be the go-to for major Montreal-area transit projects such as the REM and the Turcot Interchange.
The next Transport Minister will be veteran CAQ MNA François Bonnardel.
The delicate immigration file will be handled by 31-year-old lawyer, Simon Jolin-Barrette, who will also be Government House Leader. He will not only be responsible for cutting immigration numbers by 20% and imposing French language and values tests on newcomers, but also for adopting a ”secularism charter” within the first year that would prohibit state employees such as teachers and police officers from wearing conspicuous religious symbols at work.
Legault’s Deputy Premier will be a woman: former communications professional Geneviève Guilbault. She will also be Minister of Public Safety.
The Justice portfolio has been given to former Charbonneau Commission prosecutor Sonia LeBel, who will also be Minister responsible for intergovernmental relations.
As expected, the Minister of Health and Social Services will be Danielle McCann. Former head of the Montreal regional health agency, McCann was tapped to run specifically for this position, with hopes that her experience would assist her in renegotiating the contract with Quebec’s specialist doctors. Lionel Carmant, a personal friend of the new Premier, will take on the role of junior Minister of Health.
Former educator Jean-Francois Roberge, will be Minister of Education. A portfolio close to Premier Legault’s heart, as he often credits his education to his successes, education is sure to be a priority for the next government. This includes the introduction of kindergarten for those four years of age.
Former City Councillor Jonatan Julien will take on the Energy portfolio.
The National Assembly is expected to sit before the end of the year, with the CAQ likely to bring forward legislation on cannabis and one on secularism.
Quebec's New Cabinet Ministers:
Premier: François Legault
Deputy Premier and Minister of Public Safety: Geneviève Guilbault
Minister of Education: Jean-François Roberge
Minister of Health and Social Services: Danielle McCann
Minister of Economy and Innovation:Pierre Fitzgibbon
Minister of Finance: Éric Girard
President of the Treasury Board: Christian Dubé
Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change: Marie-Chantal Chassé
Minister responsible for Seniors and Caregivers: Marguerite Blais
Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion and House Leader: Simon Jolin-Barrette
Minister of Transport: François Bonnardel
Minister of Justice, Minister responsible for Canadian Relations and the Canadian Francophonie, and Minister responsible for the Status of Women: Sonia LeBel
Minister of the Family: Mathieu Lacombe
Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie: Nadine Girault
Junior Minister of Transport and Minister responsible for the Metropolis (Montreal): Chantal Rouleau
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing: Andrée Laforest
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food: André Lamontagne
Minister of Energy and Natural Resources: Jonatan Julien
Minister of Forestry, Fauna, Parks, and the North: Pierre Dufour
Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity, and Labour: Jean Boulet
Minister of Culture and Communications and Minister responsible for the Charter of the French Language: Nathalie Roy
Minister of Tourism: Caroline Proulx
Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs: Sylvie D'Amours
Junior Minister of Education: Isabelle Charest
Junior Minister of Health and Social Services: Lionel Carmant
Junior Minister of Regional Economic Development: Marie-Ève Proulx
Junior Minister of Governmental Digital Transformation: Éric Caire
Chief Government Whip: Éric Lefebvre
Chair of the Government Caucus: Mario Laframboise