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Politics

Pierre Arcand unveils Quebec Liberal Party shadow cabinet

Interim Quebec Liberal opposition leader Pierre Arcand, centre left, is congratulated by Liberal caucus president Filomena Rotiroti, centre right, while caucus members applaud, on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018 at the legislature in Quebec City.
Interim Quebec Liberal opposition leader Pierre Arcand, centre left, is congratulated by Liberal caucus president Filomena Rotiroti, centre right, while caucus members applaud, on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018 at the legislature in Quebec City. Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

Quebec Liberal Party interim leader Pierre Arcand has unveiled his new shadow cabinet, naming a number of fresh faces to high-profile portfolios and giving new responsibilities to veteran politicians.

As the official opposition at the National Assembly, the shadow cabinet will be responsible for monitoring and responding to the Coalition Avenir Québec government’s actions on various files.

Among the newly elected MNAs, tax lawyer and university professor Marwah Rizqy will become the party’s critic for education, higher learning and digital strategy.

READ MORE: François Legault sworn in as premier, unveils cabinet

Former NHL defenceman Enrico Ciccone, who made headlines when he was selected by the Quebec Liberals to run in Marquette instead of longtime MNA François Ouimet, will take on sports, leisure and healthy lifestyle.

Gregory Kelley, who followed his father’s footsteps in the Jacques-Cartier riding, will be the critic for relations with English-speaking Quebecers. The CAQ has not named a minister for that portfolio, but Christopher Skeete will be in charge of the secretariat.

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Jennifer Maccarone, former president of the Quebec English School Board Association, will handle the family file.

Immigration, secularism files to be handled by former ministers

Former economy minister Dominique Anglade has been handed two critical portfolios: economy and immigration. She will be tasked with monitoring Simon Jolin-Barrette, who was named immigration, diversity and inclusion minister.

Quebec Premier François Legault has promised to issue a French-language and values tests for newcomers — but the Liberals have come out strong against the proposal in the past.

WATCH: François Legault stands firm on proposed religious symbol ban

François Legault stands firm on proposed religious symbol ban
François Legault stands firm on proposed religious symbol ban

Hélène David, for her part, will be tasked with handling the file of secularism, a topic which is at the top of the new government’s priority list.

Legault has vowed to ban certain civil servants in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols at work. The controversial plan has sparked protests in Montreal and caused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to voice his unease.

The Quebec Liberals recently said they would wait to see what plan the CAQ puts forth, but Arcand said the party’s priority is to protect minorities.

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READ MORE: François Legault doubles down on religious symbol ban after meeting with Justin Trudeau

Former ministers shuffled

While Arcand said some former ministers will hang on to their respective portfolios in his shadow cabinet, others have been given new responsibilities.

Gaétan Barrette won’t be taking on new Health Minister Danielle McCann at the National Assembly. The former health minister will instead be designated to treasury and transportation roles.

André Fortin, the 36-year-old who served as transport minister, will be the critic for health. He will also handle the portfolios for public health and vitality of the regions.

WATCH: Christopher Skeete will be in charge of the secretariat for Anglophone relations

CAQ MNA Christopher Skeete on relationship with English-speaking Quebecers
CAQ MNA Christopher Skeete on relationship with English-speaking Quebecers

D’Arcy-McGee MNA David Birnbaum will undertake the Indigenous affairs file.

Christine St-Pierre and Marie Montpetit have also both been shuffled. They will be the critics for public security and environment, respectively.

Among those who are heading back into familiar territory is former finance minister Carlos Leitao, who will be the critic for that file.

READ MORE: Quebec Liberals sworn in as official Opposition after being ousted from power

—With files from The Canadian Press

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