- The CAQ lost a motion last night to overturn recent harsh reforms to the Quebec Experience Program introduced on November 1, 2019.
- Most CAQ members were at an event supporting a by-election candidate, leaving only 3 MNAs present when the motion was presented, and subsequently adopted, in the National Assembly.
- When one CAQ MNA asked for the vote to be postponed, he was reminded, at least 5 members needed to be present.
In what could only be described as a Dickensian turn of events, the CAQ has just recently lost a parliamentary motion that could overturn their changes to the Quebec Experience Program.
What makes this turn of events so comical is the fact that the CAQ currently holds a majority government in Quebec, meaning they hold 75 of the 125 seats at the National Assembly, so the fact that they have lost this motion seems almost impossible.
But, however impossible it may seem, the CBC is reporting that the "embarrassing loss" is due to an event that was happening "in the riding of Jean-Talon," where most of the CAQ MNAs could be found, including Premier François Legault.
The event was in support of a candidate who will be running in the December by-election in the Jean-Talon riding. Here's hoping the event was a good time because it kept most of the CAQ MNAs from the National Assembly, where they would have needed at least five MNAs present in order to, at the very least, postpone the vote.
How many CAQ MNAs were present? Just three.
Québec Solidaire co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois spoke after the motion was adopted, describing this vote as the "final episode" of this week's "long mess of a saga" surrounding the Quebec Experience Program (or Programme d'expérience québécoise/PEQ in French).
One of the main criticisms brought forward in the National Assembly last night by secondary opposition leader Nadeau-Dubois, seen below, was the blatant "improvisation" seen by the CAQ, and the Minister of Immigration, Simon Jolin-Barrette.
Official opposition leader Marc Tanguay also spoke and shared the final paragraph of the motion, which read, "The National Assembly is demanding that the CAQist government cancel the recent program changes and revert to the prevailing eligibility conditions before the moratorium imposed last July."
You can watch both statements (in French) in the Media Activities Archive on the National Assembly website right here.
The event that had Legault and many other CAQ MNAs absent last night was in support of candidate Joëlle Boutin, who is running in the December 2, 2019 by-election for the riding of Jean-Talon, the "last Liberal bastion in Montreal East," as Legault describes it in his tweet below.
J'étais ce soir avec notre candidate à l'élection partielle du 2 décembre dans Jean-Talon, Joëlle Boutin. Joëlle es… https://t.co/K5VzkIq9SX— François Legault (@François Legault) 1573086577.0
At the National Assembly, Liberal immigration critic Monsef Derraji presented the motion "around 5 p.m.," according to the CBC, following a lengthy and heated debate surrounding the proposed reform that was meant to have been in effect as of November 1.
After the motion was adopted cheers and applause can be heard within the National Assembly, as Vice-President Marc Picard of the National Assembly can be seen looking... somewhat befuddled.
When a CAQ MNA requested that the vote be postponed until today, Thursday, the Vice-President was forced to remind him that there needed to be at least 5 CAQ MNAs present in order to do so.
It's important to note that this motion is non-binding, but will hopefully still carry "political and moral weight" with the CAQ, as Nadeau-Dubois put it and "exercise pressure," as Derraji hopes.
(Translations are my own.)