Opinion: 7 Ways The CAQ Government Will Ruin Quebec
They are now in command of a majority in the National Assembly.
Today, François Legault announced the cabinet that will head the new Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government in the province.
At the beginning of this month, the CAQ defied even the most optimistic projections to win a majority government in the National Assembly.
TL;DR The centre-right CAQ is in command of a majority government in Quebec. Some of their proposals, however, could do harm to the province. Below are listed 7 potentially dangerous CAQ plans.
The party has promised to overhaul policies relating to provincial governance, culture, and economic strategy.
Among these plans, however, are proposals that critics say could harm parts if not all of Quebec.
Here are seven of such proposals:
The CAQ aims to both cut immigration and more strictly monitor immigrants admitted to the province. Among those plans is a commitment to expel immigrants who do not pass a French language test within three years.
Such policies will only foster anti-immigrant sentiment and deter skilled labourers, which the province desperately needs, from entering the province.
Since the Canadian federal government has final say on matters related to immigration, these plans may not even be possible.
Neglect of Montreal transit woes
Among the Montreal transit proposals of the four major provincial parties, those of the CAQ were perhaps the least ambitious.
The only rail developments proposed by the party are the extension of the STM Blue line (long promised by every party) and the addition of two street-level trolleys between Montreal East and downtown.
Otherwise, the CAQ promises to invest heavily in roads, mostly suburban. That attention to suburban infrastructure over the overburdened Montreal transit system makes sense given that non-metro areas voted overwhelmingly for the right-wing party.
The STM in Montreal needs radical innovation, not stagnation.
No commitment on environmental issues
The CAQ was also most unequivocal on environmental issues. The party wants to reduce carbon emissions but has promised no decisive action to do that, according to the CBC.
That is especially concerning given the recent release of an alarming report from the United Nations that states that unless national and municipal leaders, alike, can agree on radical climate action by 2030, humanity is doomed.
Less functional bureaucracy
The CAQ will gut the provincial bureaucracy to reduce expenses. But in reality, there is little justification for this move. The previous PLQ government balanced the provincial chequebook.
A smaller bureaucracy means less functional social services, longer wait times, and less quality customer service.
Expect the majority CAQ government to exercise its power over the island of Montreal, which voted overwhelmingly for Québec Solidaire and the PLQ.
The CAQ will find the most opposition to its initiatives coming from the largest city in the province. But with complete control of the National Assembly, the CAQ will be able to override or defy the will of Montreal residents and municipal government.
François Legault has already vowed to ditch the creation of an STM Pink line, the cornerstone campaign promise of current Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante. He has also expressed approval of Ontario premier Doug Ford's action to cut the number of councillors on the Toronto City Council, which was met with public outrage.
The CAQ's plan to draft a charter on secularism has been well-reported. Legault's promise to invoke the notwithstanding clause to enforce a ban on religious garments for public servants, despite court disapproval, also provoked widespread outcry.
Last week, however, Legault announced that the Christian crucifix in the National Assembly would be exempt from such a ban because it is an "historical and not a religious symbol."
In fact, the Christian symbols that decorate public institutions all over Quebec seem to be safe from the CAQ ban. Just look atop Mount Royal in Montreal and you'll see a giant cross. It's not going anywhere.
This hyopcrisy exposes the ban on religious symbols for what it is: a ban on non-Christian symbols that specifically targets Muslim women and Jewish men.
Pandering to nationalists
The religious symbol ban and proposed crackdown on immigration are thinly veiled attempts to pander to nationalists.
Both policies give the impression that non-Christian residents and non-Francophone immigrants are invasive forces whose presence the government must regulate and deter. That is wrong.