The CAQ in 2024, just starting to be good

The members of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) reflect the image of their voters. They submit to their government. In a cry from the heart combining penance and prayer, the member for Nicolet-Bécancour, Donald Martel, confided to Radio-Canada: “I say that the priority is… just to start being good! »

That would indeed be an excellent idea. The opportunity is great. With the new year, after a beneficial period of rest, everyone is ready to give the runner another chance. The 2023 CAQ festival of blunders has certainly made Quebecers skeptical, but they are not the vindictive or intransigent type. In education and health, the CAQ has adopted laws that it promises to be structuring. It seems to have gone further than expected to cajole its employees, some of whom, but not all, seem satisfied. We understand that it will take time to implement all of this (the new Santé Québec agency will not really be operational until April 2025), but improvement is possible. Everyone is prepared to be pleasantly surprised that things eventually improve.

In terms of temporary immigration, the Prime Minister has just admitted that he has so far not taken the necessary measures to stem the flow. This is, in itself, a change. Furthermore, after having reprimanded all those who wanted restraint in immigration, Québec solidaire has just made a clear decision: there are too many. So, we move forward.

The main thing is not to get bogged down in “distractions,” the Prime Minister said. We cannot avoid dealing with issues that are shocking and that current events certainly require. But a reduction in the fairly high rate of CAQ banana self-peeling would be welcome.

However, I regret to inform you that the self-throwing banana peel machine is still active, at the CAQ, at the start of the year. This week, I counted three.

Pelt no 1. First, on the sensitive subject of the cost of living, Hydro’s request for a rate increaseQuebec seems to have been designed to provoke discontent. It caps the increase for individuals at 3%, as promised, but it demonstrates flagrant injustice by increasing the rate of small and medium-sized businesses by 5.1% and that of large industry by only 3.3%. %. It is impossible to believe that the proposal was not validated by the Prime Minister’s office. Already, the CAQ had developed a reputation for being too generous towards large foreign companies. From now on, we will rightly accuse him of discriminating against Quebec SMEs. This is unfortunate, as small entrepreneurs form part of the CAQ electoral base.

Pelt no 2. The saga of shady CAQ fundraising continues. This time, the deputy for Rousseau, Louis-Charles Thouin, has just specially invited ten mayors from his constituency at the beginning of February to pay $100 each for the privilege of looking into the eyes of the vice-prime minister and holder of the Transport, Geneviève Guilbault. To “raise funds for the next elections”. Thouin — who obviously did not follow the previous episodes of controversies over imprudent financing — invites them in writing to “combine business with pleasure.” “Geneviève and I will be delighted to welcome you and be able to discuss with you on various subjects that concern you, including road and public transportation issues,” he wrote, according to the document obtained by The Canadian Press. (And I would like to thank the informant mayor(s) here.)

The Ethics Commissioner, overwhelmed since the CAQ election, is of course seized of the new affair. But the Chief Electoral Officer could realize that this call is contrary to the law, which stipulates that these $100 must not allow any “compensation or consideration”. And why does the Director of Civil and Criminal Prosecutions not compare the MP’s text with the wording of section 119 (1) of the Criminal Code? He will be able to read there that “anyone who is guilty of a criminal act and liable to a maximum imprisonment of fourteen years is […] member of Parliament or a provincial legislature, accepts or obtains, agrees to accept or attempts to obtain, directly or indirectly, by corruption, for himself or for another person, money, valuable consideration, an office, place or employment in respect of something which he has done or abstained from doing or which he will do or abstain from doing in his official capacity”.

Does asking a mayor for $100 in exchange for a meeting with the minister who may or may not unblock his transportation files not exactly meet this definition? However, I admit, fourteen years in prison would be a bit excessive.

Pelt no 3. Determined to project decisiveness and optimism, the Prime Minister’s office commissioned a videographer to shoot an ad, on the sidelines of the Sherbrooke caucus, showing François Legault and his main ministers caught in the act of closing notebooks and computers to better refocus on the essentials and “change what doesn’t work”. A message of pure political positioning, quite effective in my opinion. No problem, until the “Your Government” logo appears at the end, which indicates that this is not an ad for the political party, but for the State.

In his years in opposition, François Legault did not have harsh enough words to denounce the production of self-congratulatory advertisements by the liberal government of Philippe Couillard. His team had dissected the budgets to separate the advertisements which informed the public of a service or a program, on the one hand, from those which purely and simply promoted the image of the government, on the other hand. . On the latter, the Liberals had spent $7.4 million. “There is nothing in the way of information in there,” lamented the CAQ members. There is nothing. This is pure propaganda. »

Viewers have been able to see that, since 2018, the CAQ have adopted the communication policies which, yesterday, gave them buttons. The number of prestige advertisements that do not explain any program or service has increased. However, until this week, the CAQ had never dared to produce a personal promo from their ministers and their leader using public funds.

A new frontier is therefore crossed in the denial of convictions, in ethical unconsciousness and in self-destruction.

Good year.

Columnist, the author led the PQ from 2016 to 2018. He has just published Through the mouth of my pencils. [email protected]

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