Quebec MNAs break for summer
Fixed-date election bill passes, language bill still up in the air
Quebec politicians have wrapped up their spring session at the national assembly with the passage of a bill to set fixed-date elections beginning in October 2016.
As for what else has been accomplished since they began sitting, the politicians agree on almost nothing.
"We announced the creation of thousands of new places in daycare," said Premier Pauline Marois, surrounded by beaming PQ caucus members. "We announced the creation of [early kindergarten.] We succeed in the goal of deficit zéro —a balanced budget."
Marois said her only real mistake was trying to push through too many major projects, including the controversial Bill 14, which is meant to strengthen Quebec's existing law protecting the French language.
The Liberal opposition has vowed to vote against the bill, and the Coalition Avenir Québec has not yet agreed to vote with the government to pass it into law.
However, Marois says her government will not back down on its stance on language rights, even if the bill is defeated.
Liberal Opposition Leader Jean-Marc Fournier accuses the government of stalling on issues like the revamping of Quebec's mining laws. Fournier says that's created uncertainty that is costing Quebec jobs and investment.
"If you ask your neighbours, people that you know, your friends, even friends of the PQ — if you ask… where this government is going, the answer is: 'We don't know,'" Fournier said.
"In fact, they are just doing cuts in services. They are not doing any plan of economic development," he added.
CAQ dares Couillard to run for a seat
Fournier also attacked the Coalition Avenir Québec for its decision to support a clause-by-clause review of the contentious language bill.
"The position of the CAQ is that we are for it, but we are against it. We will fight against it, but we will vote for it," said Fournier. "CAQ is everywhere. CAQ is nowhere."
CAQ leader François Legault contends his party is simply doing its job. Legault in turn leveled criticism at Liberal leader Philippe Couillard for refusing to try and win a seat in the national assembly at the earliest opportunity.
"If he wants to become premier, he needs to tell us what he proposes for the economy, for fighting corruption," Legault said.
None of the political leaders are offering any guesses as to how long the minority PQ government might last.
However, Legault did say the PQ's budget next spring will be "a moment of truth."