Many of Quebec’s new MNAs still getting used to politics
The National Assembly has wrapped up a two-week mini-session during which the government tabled three bills in order to move ahead with some key campaign promises.
More than half of the MNAs from all parties are new to politics, and it’s clear they are still getting their bearings.
The premier — and his ministers — are new to being in the driver’s seat. During Thursday’s question period, Simon Jolin-Barrette mistakenly referred to his Liberal opponent, Dominique Anglade, as the “minister.” He quickly corrected himself.
On Friday, he explained after laughing at himself.
“I realize that we are actually in government,” the immigration minister said.
“You know, because we were for a long time on the other side, so it’s a reflex,” he explained.
Other MNAs don’t have those reflexes at all. This is the first session for 67 of them.
“The biggest challenge that we had to face was having so many new people,” said deputy premier Geneviève Guilbault.
She said that she was impressed with how fast the new CAQ MNAs caught on to how the National Assembly works.
“We tabled three bills in two weeks, so I think that says a lot about our willingness to go ahead with our engagements,” she said.
The Liberals and Parti Quebecois (PQ) said the government is moving ahead with “ideological” campaign promises and has little interest in co-operating with the other parties.
“They seem to be taking a lot of polls. They get a glimpse of what some of their voters think and they try to apply it,” said Liberal Interim Leader Pierre Arcand.
“They were elected by less than 40 per cent so it’s good to make consensus,” said PQ Interim Leader Pascal Bérubé.
However, the PQ itself blocked consensus this week, refusing to allow the premier to give his National Assembly holiday address a day early because he was attending the premiers’ meeting in Montreal on Friday.
Bérubé later apologized on Twitter: “We should have consented to their request, given the circumstances,” he wrote.
For its part, Quebec Solidaire said it’s succeeded in getting the National Assembly talking about the environment. It’s also got it talking about the dress code.
Other parties have now asked Speaker François Paradis to review what MNAs should be allowed to wear in the next session.
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