Justin Trudeau's Liberal party has come out of Canada's 2021 election with another minority government, setting the balance of power in Ottawa for potentially another four years.
On Tuesday morning, Quebec Premier François Legault released a brief statement congratulating Trudeau on his victory.
"I will work with him to advance Quebec's interests," Legault wrote on Twitter.
Trudeau's victory comes after a raucous run-up to the election in which Legault was openly critical of not only Trudeau but also federal encroachment on provincial jurisdiction and attitudes towards Quebec more generally.
"There are three parties at the federal level that want to reduce the autonomy of the Quebec nation," Legault said at the National Assembly days before the election.
The premier also called the framing of a question at the English-language federal leaders' debate an "attack" on Quebec.
"The good news is that we are really coming through the worst of the pandemic," Legault said. He noted that more than 90% of Quebecers aged 12 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 85% have received two doses, which is consistent with Quebec data.
While the government was worried about the Delta variant, Legault said he's pleased today to have "managed to avoid a large-scale fourth wave despite the start of the school year."
"Slowly but surely, we are getting closer to a return to normalcy [...]. Every time a restriction comes down, it's like a weight is lifted off our shoulders," Legault said, referencing Thursday's announcement that Quebec restaurants and bars could return to maximum capacity and regular operating hours on November 1.
However, the premier did remind Quebecers to stay cautious.
"Our health care system remains fragile, but we are doing what we can to strengthen it as quickly as possible," he said. "We must not be too quick to claim victory. The virus is still there and there are still people in the hospital."
Legault launched a new session in the National Assembly of Quebec, which is set to begin on October 19. He said he plans to make an opening speech on Tuesday in the spirit of looking forward to the "post-pandemic period."
"I am [...] with the efforts that have been made by our administration to promote the French language in recent months, completely at odds with a position such as that of a current mayoral candidate."
Plante was invited to speak at the National Assembly hearing on Bill 96 on Tuesday evening and was asked by Minister Responsible for the French Language Simon Jolin-Barrette what she thought of a candidate's plan to make "the city of Montreal become bilingual and multicultural."
The candidate in question, Balarama Holness, would move to officially recognize Montreal as a bilingual city and promote multiculturalism.
In a statement of support for the principles in Bill 96,Plante said she hopes French becomes the "social glue" of the metropolis.
"We have to promote the French language by giving ourselves the means and tools to bring people together."
The Montreal bar association has been looking into elements of Bill 96 and is raising concern that certain articles could "infringe on the principle of access to justice which is at the heart of Quebec's democratic society," particularly for English speakers and bilingual people.
The association has pointed to five articles in the Bill that could affect "access to justice:" 9, 12, 13, 55, and 208.6.
Article 9 of the Bill, for instance, states that "a certified French translation shall be attached to any pleading drawn up in English that emanates from a legal person. The legal person shall bear the translation costs."
The association says that "requiring a party to bear the costs of a translation" affects access to justice and that there could be delays with processing a translated case report.
"In addition," the association continued, "there is reason to wonder about the availability of a sufficient number of legal translators in private practice."
Article 12 of Bill 96, meanwhile, relates to the appointment of judges in Quebec, stating they "shall not be required to have knowledge or a specific level of knowledge of a language other than the official language unless the Minister of Justice and the Minister of the French Language consider that the exercise of that office requires such knowledge."
For the association, this is troubling because the provision doesn't "take into account the reality of litigants in Montreal, where the percentage of cases in which English is required alone justifies the presence of judges or administrative judges who are bilingual or who have sufficient knowledge of English."
In a statement, the president of the Montreal bar, Junior Laguerre, said that "it is important to guarantee all citizens access to justice without hindrance or barrier, whether linguistic, economic or temporal."
"We, therefore, ask Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette to make the necessary amendments to the bill, so that it achieves its objectives without harming access to justice for all," Laguerre concluded.
The report recommended that Quebec acknowledge systemic racism. It also said racism and prejudice played a role in Echaquan's death.
"The only place where I don't agree is when we say that there's a 'system' because for me a 'system' is coming from upstairs, coming from the top people, and I don't see this in the health care network, for example," Legault said at a press conference on Tuesday, following the release of the coroner's report.
"What happened to Mrs. Echaquan is terrible [...] and few employees, not only one, didn't deliver the right services to her."
He reiterated that people who believe in systemic racism in Quebec don't have the same definition that he does.
"We don't have a system [of racism], top to bottom, and it's a question of fact," he said.
He emphasized the need to "stop dividing Quebecers" with arguments about systemic racism.
"Even [the coroner who wrote the report] Mrs. Kahmel, she's saying that we have not to put all the emphasis only on words. We have to put emphasis on actions to change the situation and, on that, I fully agree," said Legault.