Opening speech: François Legault in continuity
François Legault notably mentioned the idea again to build more dams.
Cohabitation of environmental protection and economic growth, immigration and protection of the language of Molière: in his opening speech of the 43rd legislature, in Quebec, Prime Minister François Legault largely took up the themes put forward during the previous election campaign, with a view to his second term as head of the CAQ government.
Thus, according to the leader of the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ), the Quebec for the next four years will be both a winning Quebec, a green nation and a nation that defends its linguistic heritage, 414 years after the founding of Quebec by Samuel de Champlain.
On the question of the economy, first of all, Mr. Legault did not deviate from the hobby of his first mandate, that is to say the catch-up in terms of creation of wealth per capita relative to Ontario. Thus, the Prime Minister argued that the last four years had reduced this gap by more than three percentage points, from just over 16% to 12.8%.
Creating wealth is not an end in itself, he said, but it is necessary.
To do this, his government intends to encourage gains in productivity, particularly in terms of automation and the digital shift of businesses.
This creation of wealth must also be #x27;mooring to an ever greater reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, history, says François Legault, that Quebec will be among the first to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
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The reduction in polluting emissions will be achieved in particular through the electrification of transport, the development of the battery sector, in particular with the exploitation and processing of strategic minerals present in large quantities in Quebec, such as lithium, but also with the production of green hydrogen and steel.
However, the CAQ government will have a lot to do to achieve its environmental objectives. In June, a report by the Trottier Energy Institute of Polytechnique Montreal indicated that Quebec was on track to miss the target set for 2030. The document specified that for 2050, however, it is still possible to #x27;achieve carbon neutrality… provided you reinject vigor into your strategy.
For François Legault, there is no doubt that Quebec will be able to achieve its goal by the middle of the century, even if it will be a very large challenge, he acknowledged. And one of the ways to achieve this transition, which will be accompanied by a greater demand for electrical energy, will be to seriously consider the construction of new dams.
Where? When? At what price? The Prime Minister has not provided details on this subject since his first allusion to a new major hydroelectric project during the most recent election campaign.
The president of Hydro-Québec, Sophie Brochu, has made herself the apostle of energy efficiency, a path that Mr. Legault also wants to take. Ultimately, he estimates that an additional 100 terawatt-hours will be needed to meet future demand. Which, according to him, is equivalent to building half an additional Hydro-Québec [network].
In one of a series of often thinly veiled attacks on his opponents, the Prime Minister also argued that one should not be dogmatic in the fight against climate change and that Quebec's environmental record was already very satisfactory, since the average Quebecer emits less than 9 tonnes of GHGs per year, or about half of the average Canadian outside Quebec and American.
Another major priority for the Legault government, the issue of the protection of French should again occupy a lot of space during the mandate.
Already, the Prime Minister had indicated his intention to welcome 100% Francophone economic immigration by the year 2026, with a few exceptions.
According to François Legault, the language of Molière is the main pillar of the culture of the Quebec nation.
“What would be left of us if we lost this fundamental bond that unites us?
—François Legault, Premier of Quebec
The CAQ leader once again used data from the most recent census to affirm that in Montreal the situation of French was particularly worrying, while less than half of the inhabitants of the metropolis speak French. #x27;first French at home.
This proportion, however, does not take into account residents who speak French and another language (English or other), nor does it provide a reliable overview of Montrealers who speak the official language of Quebec in public. , at work, etc.
The Prime Minister also did not hesitate to launch certain attacks. Against the co-spokesperson of Québec solidaire, first, while François Legault accused Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois of tearing his hair out about the CAQ plan consisting in making more room for private health .
But the bulk of the Prime Minister's attacks were aimed at the federal government, against which he fired red balls.
According to Mr. Legault, Ottawa must quickly increase the share of federal health transfers , while Quebecers send 40% of their taxes to the federal capital and the latter pays only 22% of the costs of the various health networks.
The Prime Minister also urges the Trudeau government to act more quickly to process refugee status claims from people arriving in the country irregularly, via Roxham Road. Mr. Legault believes that Quebec should ask Ottawa to reimburse the amounts disbursed by the Quebec government.
Even more directly, the CAQ leader demands that Canada withdraw from the Safe Third Country Agreement, this agreement with Mexico and the United States which means that a person seeking asylum in one of these three nations must first apply to the authorities of the country from which they originate, if that country is part of this group of three States.
To avoid filing an application in the United States and risking deportation, tens of thousands of people thus pass through the United States to arrive in Canada, where they cross the border irregularly.
If the CAQ troops regularly applauded their leaders during the latter's speech in the Blue Room, the opposition parties did not seem impressed by François Legault's statements.
It is a speech that is very similar to that of the CAQ in 2018; we have had four years to debate these issues, and the actions of the CAQ do not really match the rhetoric. On the other hand, the role of an opposition is also to be constructive, so we are giving the runner a chance, declared the leader of the Parti québécois, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon.
In an interview on Radio-Canada, the PQ leader says he hopes that the Legault government will listen to PQ proposals regarding the protection of French and immigration.
For his part, the interim Liberal leader, Marc Tanguay, judged that François Legault delivered a speech as if it was his first term, as if he had just come from ;to be elected.
Mr. Legault has always asked to be judged on results; in health, in education, in child care, the results are not there. It's like it's his first speech and it'sn't been there for four years, Mr. Tanguay added.
This the latter, however, underlined the will, on the part of the CAQ leader, to hold a national debate on the need or not to build new dams.
On the side of the Conservative Party of Quebec, leader Éric Duhaime also maintained that the speech of the Prime Minister took up themes already mentioned in 2018. He blinked to the right, but he turned to the left, he estimated.
And finally, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, co-spokesperson for Québec solidaire, believes that François Legault has touched on the subject that should have been at the heart of his speech, c' i.e. historic inflation, cost of living crisis.
No new announcements to help people; it is very disappointing. [François Legault] spoke to us about inequalities with Ontario, but not inequalities in Quebec.
And Mr. Nadeau-Dubois did not miss the x27; opportunity to target the third link project, carried by the CAQ since its election in 2018: Its plan for dams is as imaginary as its consensus on the third link! It is not known where these dams will be, on which rivers… At the moment, these are basically empty words, he said.