Quebec Liberals hope to pass controversial legislation before the holidays

QUEBEC CITY — Majority governments can force legislation through. The Charest Liberals did it and the Couillard government is hinting it could do the same.

“There are long discussions that sometimes we see as being too long,” said Government House Leader Jean-Marc Fournier.

Bill 10 is one of those bills the government is eager to pass. It would eliminate a level of bureaucracy in the healthcare system and save the Health Ministry $220 million.

Anglophones are particularly angry to see their boards of directors dismantled, but after spending more than 70 hours listening to dozens of interest groups, Gaétan Barrette said it’s time to move.

“There are tough decisions to be made, we are making those decisions,” Barrette noted.

The minister promised to table amendments that will satisfy the English-speaking community. But he also hinted his bill could pass through closure, if push comes to shove.

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It was the same with Bill 3.

Parties said they have come to a agreement over the much-maligned pension reform, but the Parti Quebecois could decide to stall debate in the House, which may provoke the government into using closure.

“The law will be adopted next week,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Pierre Moreau.

Bill 15 reining in the number of public-sector employees is another Liberal bill being pushed through.

Opposition parties are reacting by reaching into their tool box and tabling a confidence motion, blaming the government for cutting jobs and raising fees.

“Mr. Couillard has really two faces,” said Coalition Avenir Quebec leader François Legault.

“He promised something and he’s doing the opposite.”

Another bill worth mentioning is Bill 28. It establishes new pay parameters for pharmacists so they can start performing certain medical acts, like renewing prescriptions. That debate will take place after the Holidays, as the Liberals continue to rock the boat.

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