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Look ahead: Premier Legault to open new session of National Assembly with speech Tuesday

Premier François Legault will open a new session of the National Assembly Tuesday with an inaugural speech. Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

Premier François Legault will open a new session of the National Assembly Tuesday with an inaugural speech.

After announcing he was proroguing the Quebec legislature earlier this month, the premier has said his government will be focused on planning for what’s to come after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new session, however, will also set the tone for the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ)’s priorities heading into the next election, according to Laval University political science professor, Eric Montigny.

Read more: Quebec premier to prorogue legislature, with new session starting Oct. 19

Prorogation gives the government the chance for a fresh start. Montigny said he expects the premier to lay out a new agenda and give clear objectives to his ministers.

This comes in light of a new Leger poll, in conjunction with Le Journal de Montreal, that looked at the popularity of some of those ministers. Health Minister Christian Dubé had the highest number of people who said they had a good opinion of him, followed by Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault.

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The most unpopular were Education Minister Jean-François Roberge and Seniors Minister Marguerite Blais.

Read more: COVID-19: Quebec facing nursing staff shortage

In a preview of his speech, the premier spoke about health care, education and the economy being his top priorities post-pandemic and how things needed to change after COVID-19 without going into too much detail. Montigny predicts Legault’s speech will contain more talk about lessons learned from the pandemic, priorities in health care and how to kick-start the economy — as well as one more thing.

“Also he will try to set the agenda for the next election. What battlegrounds… will this election be held? So that’s part of the political communication exercise,” the political science professor said.

Prorogation effectively kills all the bills of the prior session, but the government can pick and choose which bills it wants to re-introduce, such as Bill 96.

Public hearings on the government’s French language reform just wrapped up before the premier announced he was proroguing the legislature.

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