by Sarah Kassa
October 18, 2018 | News
Monday October 1st, 8:00 p.m. : François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) won 74 seats and made history by becoming the first party other than the Parti Québécois (PQ) or Parti Libéral du Québec (PLQ) to be elected since 1970. Here’s a look at the highlights of their political agenda.
This new government will use part of its $500M dollar education budget to make optional junior kindergartens free and accessible to all 4 year-old children. Teachers’ salaries will be also be raised. However, school elections will be eliminated and school boards will be replaced with school service centers.
With the party’s $400M healthcare budget, Premier-designate Legault promises that Quebecers will be able to see a family doctor - or any other medical specialist - in less than 36 hours. The CAQ claims that it will make sure that taxpayers don’t have to pay any extra costs and that doctors will get paid more, while nurses and pharmacists will be given more responsibilities.
Immigration and Secularism
The CAQ will reduce immigration by 20% and impose a French language and values test on immigrants. Newcomers will risk deportation if they do not pass these tests after 3 years. Despite this, Legault promises that his party will ensure that it will be easier and quicker for valid foreign diplomas to be recognized academically here. Quebecers who work in positions of authority such as teachers, judges, and police officers will be prohibited from wearing religious signs.
Quebec’s newly elected party will use part of its $10B dollar transportation budget to alleviate road congestion in the Greater Montreal area by 2030. Legault is opposing Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante’s proposition to add a Pink line to the current metro system. This line was supposed to link Montréal-Nord to Downtown, while a second phase of the project would have linked Downtown to Lachine. His government is instead willing to extend the Blue line and add a tramway project for Montreal East.
The CAQ will implement a Silver alert system that will locate missing elders who have cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia as quickly as possible. When it comes to senior residences (CHSLDs), two baths a week will become mandatory, and meal budgets will be doubled. There will also be a mandatory disclosure of mistreatment policy that will serve as more efficient protection.
The takeaway There has been a lot of controversy surrounding these electoral promises. Thousands of protesters rallied in downtown Montreal on October 7th, opposing the proposals that affect immigrants and religious communities. The CAQ also faced backlash on October 10th for wanting to keep the crucifix inside of the National Assembly while pressuring civil servants in positions of authority to remove any religious symbol they would otherwise be wearing.
“[Quebec’s government] has a right to control immigration, but not to rob people of their religious identity,” says Social Science student Laila Adraoui. “How is that helping us move forward? This is not a priority.”
International Business student and CAQ’s Regional Youth Representative, Jonah Presser, disagreed. “Over the course of the last few days, it’s just been constant negativity towards [them] and the[ir] government hasn’t even been sworn in yet,” he said. “We’re going to make sure to make as many people happy as possible and [my job is to advocate] for a new government while seeing what most people’s concerns are.”
We may not all agree with our new government’s ideologies, but they still won a majority in 74 out of Quebec’s 125 electoral ridings. Only time can tell what the outcome will be.