Two years of Caquist government: the Legault method still appeals

Having reached mid-term, Prime Minister François Legault has not finished restoring “pride” to Quebecers, especially with regard to the State, which is currently engaged in a merciless fight against COVID-19 .

Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette will return to the identity front to unveil a “beefy” plan to protect French from the onslaught of English as soon as the pandemic runs out of steam. Quebeckers will be proud of it, while the Liberals, the PQ and those in solidarity will not know what to do with it, promises the Coalition futur Quebec.

Before the arrival of COVID-19, 85% of Quebecers were very proud (33%) or somewhat proud (52%) of Quebec, according to a survey commissioned by the Minister of the Executive Council. On the other hand, 15% were not very proud (12%) or not at all proud (3%) of Quebec, can we read in the document obtained thanks to the Act respecting access to documents of public bodies. At the top of the list of reasons to be proud of Quebec are the following: “Quebec culture”, “its openness” and “it is a beautiful province”. At the top of the reasons not to be proud of Quebec: “bad governance”, “the presence of racism and xenophobia” and “the lack of will of Quebecers”. Prime Minister François Legault’s team took note of this.

Two years after breaking up the PLQ-PQ alternation, the CAQ prides itself on the electorate for “doing what it said it was going to do.” To date, 71% of the 251 promises of the CAQ have been fulfilled, in whole or in part, or are in the process of being fulfilled, indicates the “Polimeter François Legault” of Université Laval.

“Hyperactive,” the Caquista government was quick to “put money back in the pockets of Quebecers” at the start of their mandate. He succeeded in passing, not without controversy, the Quebec State Secularism Law. “Just that is”check in the box“For many Quebecers”, launches a political adviser. In addition to this, you need to know more about it.

Several members of the CAQ are relieved that the government has reduced school taxes, improved the family allowance, revived the universal childcare tariff and introduced 4-year-old kindergartens for all before COVID-19 shatters the plan for childcare. reduction of the debt of the Minister of Finance, Eric Girard.

“With hindsight, he did well to achieve his main electoral commitments as quickly as possible, because if he had delayed, COVID would have made the task extremely difficult for him”, underlines the professor of political science at Laval University Eric Montigny. “The second part of his mandate will be marked by the management of the crisis, but also by the type of economic recovery efforts that will be deployed and the pursuit of negotiations with public sector employees,” he continues.

The Legault government is aiming for a (almost) perfect score in the political game of the Polimeter despite the pandemic.

Will he succeed? Remember that the CAQ had made a commitment to reduce the wait time in emergencies to 90 minutes. “This is an area where I think the voters expect results,” said MP Youri Chassin, seeing it as an opportunity to improve “the efficiency of the state”.

In mid-term, CAQ members unite behind their leader – although some elected officials stamp their feet while waiting their turn to accede to the Council of Ministers.

That said, the head of government came under initial friendly fire from the CAQ Relief Commission. The youth wing publicly defied François Legault by asking him to aim for the goal of zero net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.

“Your government”

Former independence activist turned nationalist, François Legault is popular in opinion polls. The CAQ, the party he founded with businessman Charles Sirois in 2011, is credited with 40% of the voting intentions, according to a recent poll from Léger.

“To see him act in the crisis, I think it brings a lot of pride to the people who worked with him at the start,” notes MP Donald Martel. “I think the leadership he exercises will become a kind of unit of measure,” continues the early activist of the CAQ.

The image of a pragmatic government, “listening to Quebeckers”, is no stranger to its popularity. Even his boondoggles, which were followed by apologies and setbacks, seemed to serve the CAQ, notes an adviser. “Paradoxically, it reinforced the image we wanted to convey,” he says, nearly a year after the fiasco of the first attempt to reform the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ).

Opposition parties blame the Legault government for its lack of transparency. They are calling for more epidemiological projections and information on the capacity of the health network to cope with the second wave. Above all, they deplore Quebec’s unenviable record and the heavy price paid by seniors in residential centers. “There is nothing to be proud of,” summed up the elected representative Manon Massé.

New economic context

When it came to power, the CAQ relied on a pre-election report anticipating surpluses of some $ 950 million per year, from 2018 to 2023. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic struck. According to the latest report on financial transactions, the Quebec government ran up a deficit of only 4.9 billion between the 1er April and June 30.

Will the fiscal conservatives come back at a gallop when the time comes for tough choices? If this is the case, Youri Chassin will not be part of the lot, he promises. “We are in such a special situation – with aid measures, yes, generous, but also temporary – that it is not a major concern for me,” he argues.

In the eyes of Professor Montigny, the challenge for the CAQ is now to develop a new political program for the 2022 election “taking into account the new economic context and the state of public finances”. “It will also be interesting to see how he pushes his autonomist vision further when relations are not in good shape with Ottawa,” he adds.

A government of crisis

François Legault “pushed the state machine” – whose features resemble those of Leviathan, according to a close advisor. He replaced the Minister and Deputy Minister for Health in the midst of the pandemic, he illustrates. The “Legault method” is bearing fruit, he rejoices two years before the next general elections.

The Prime Minister was particularly outraged by the scarcity of personal protective equipment, the absence of bosses in each of the residential and long-term care centers (CHSLDs), as well as by the shortage of patient attendants.

After a night in which he had hardly slept, Mr. Legault asked to recruit and train some 10,000 additional patient attendants in three months. “It was a stupid idea,” said bluntly a member of the crisis unit set up after the declaration of the health emergency. “You have to bypass everything to do the same thing!” »He adds. At present, 3,424 people have added to a breathless workforce. Nearly 7,000 others will soon follow suit.

“The pandemic is quite a test for a young government,” said a member of the Prime Minister’s entourage. The new obsession of his boss, at the start of the second wave, is backlog in screening tests, he says.

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