In his assessment of the parliamentary session, François Legault says that 2023 was not his best year

After a year marked by controversies which reduced his popularity, Prime Minister François Legault says that 2024 will be better and maintains that he will be a candidate in the next elections.

In taking stock of his government’s action, before the adjournment of parliamentary work for the holiday season, Mr. Legault did not dwell on his difficulties of recent months.

“There was a lot of controversy in 2023,” he said at a press conference. I think 2022 was better than 2023, but I think 2024 is going to be one of the best. »

Despite this difficult year, and the poor polls, Mr. Legault reiterated that he still intends to be a candidate for re-election in 2026.

“I’m not in politics to win a popularity contest,” he said. I am in politics to bring about change. »

The defeat in the Jean-Talon by-election, which the Parti Québécois (PQ) wrested from the Coalition Avenir Québec, set the tone for parliamentary work this fall.

Faced this week with a new poll showing that the PQ is in the lead in voting intentions, the CAQ leader admitted that his decisions on the third link, which he resurrected, and the financing of National Hockey League matches , harmed him.

In front of journalists, Mr. Legault did not make direct reference to these decisions. But by presenting his traditional Christmas wishes, in a humorous tone, the Prime Minister did not hold back.

“I started the year being for the third link, around April I became against the third link and, in October, I became for the third link again,” he said. said. I’m planning my year 2024 and, to tell you the truth, I asked Santa for a compass for Christmas. »

He also returned to the announcement by the Minister of Finance, Eric Girard, of a subsidy of 5 to 7 million dollars to welcome the Los Angeles Kings to the Quebec amphitheater.

“We will have a little time off during the holiday season, the Minister of Finance and I will be able to watch a little hockey in peace,” he said.

“It’s going to get messy”

Mr. Legault is banking on the changes initiated in the health and education networks to once again establish himself in public opinion.

“I think that what will be decisive is what we are doing in health and education, because that is the highest priority for Quebecers, to improve health and education services,” he said.

As parliamentary work drew to a close on Friday, strikers represented by the Common Front public sector unions marched in the streets around the National Assembly. Their representatives threatened an indefinite general strike on Friday if no agreement is reached by December 19.

Mr. Legault affirmed that the option of a special law to force a return to work is not yet considered, but he showed himself determined to obtain concessions on the organization of work.

“It’s going to be brewing over the next few weeks,” he said.

The Prime Minister wants more flexibility, particularly in the assignment of teachers and nurses.

On the legislative front, the government passed Bill 23 on Thursday, which notably increases the powers of the Minister of Education by allowing him to cancel decisions of school service centers.

Another aspect of these changes desired by Mr. Legault, health reform will delay the adjournment of parliamentary work. The government has decided to use an exceptional procedure to adopt Bill 15, even if its study has not been completed.

The debates surrounding the “gag” must begin Friday afternoon and adoption will be done by Saturday.

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