Danielle McCann, who has spearheaded the efforts for Quebec’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, is out as health minister in a surprise cabinet shuffle by Premier François Legault.
When asked about the change on Monday afternoon, McCann described the shuffle as a “reset” but admitted she also joined politics to specifically work in health.
“It’s the premier’s prerogative to make choices,” she said.
McCann will be taking over the higher education portfolio, while Education Minister Jean-François Roberge will still be responsible for elementary and high school.
“I don’t feel it’s a demotion,” said McCann. “I think education is a great priority.”
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Christian Dubé, who has served as Treasury Board president, will be the province’s new health minister as Quebec continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
“After a year and a half of hard work, good work, I saw fit to have a new team to breathe new life into the work that needs to be done in the health and social services ministry,” Legault said.
Legault added that Quebec “had a failure and a victory” during the pandemic.
“We had a failure in the long-term care homes and a victory in the community,” referring to the fact that 64 per cent of the province’s 5,417 deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus occurred in those facilities for seniors.
Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette is also shifting to a new role. Legault’s right-hand man will be the youngest justice minister to date in the province.
As a result, Sonia LeBel is moving from justice and replacing Dubé on the Treasury Board. Citing her work as chief prosecutor for the Charbonneau Commission, Legault said LeBel will be able to ensure Bill 61, the province’s plan to ramp up infrastructure plans, will meet ethical standards.
“We must not leave room for corruption,” he said.
International Relations Minister Nadine Girault will be expanding her responsibilities by taking on immigration.
— With files from the Canadian Press