QUEBEC CITY – Summer couldn’t come fast enough for Quebec members of the National Assembly (MNAs).
“Summertime is a good time. I think in a short period of time we got a lot of work done, there’s more work to be done but we’re very encouraged,” said Aboriginal Affairs Minister Geoffrey Kelley.
After a gruelling election campaign, a shortened session packed with a budget and 200 hours of spending estimates, the Liberals feel they can finally take a breather.
The opposition has an overall different view:
“We’ve asked all ministers what were their three objectives for the next year, most of them had no answer,” said CAQ leader François Legault. “So really they have to work hard; I don’t think they should take long vacations.”
PQ interim leader Stéphane Bédard said he believes all the Liberals have done is send out trial balloons. Most recently, the Education Minister made students furious when he said his government would consider hiking tuition fees.
The Premier’s office had to intervene; Yves Bolduc was told to stick to the Liberal election message to keep raising fees to the rate of inflation.
“I was just cautious you know which is normal for a minister,” said Bolduc. “But you know people were worried and we decided to clarify the situation.”
Tuition fees may be excluded from the government’s spending review, but Premier Philippe Couillard confirmed on Thursday everything else will be scrutinized.
“We must stay the course because we must re-balance Quebec’s finances, putting them back in line with our revenues, not only for our generation but for the next generation giving us back our freedom of choices,” he said.
Until then, the Premier wishes MNAs a good summer and welcome rest.
However, things could heat up again at the end of July. If negotiations for a new collective agreement in the construction industry fail, the Assembly will be forced to reconvene again. The Labour Minister is preparing a special legislation he’d impose on the industry to avoid a general strike or lock-out.
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