François Legault can no longer afford to anger his deputies

François Legault can no longer afford to anger his deputies
François Legault can no longer afford to anger his deputies

In a very interesting chronicle, our colleague Antoine Robitaille told us this morning that the ministerial reshuffle long awaited by some and feared by others risks being postponed for a few more months. Reading this column, there must be many ministers who breathed a long sigh of relief. They feel unsafe and have become paranoid lately. Others almost choked on their coffee. They are impatient to see the Prime Minister recognize not only their skills, but above all their loyalty.

They have swallowed so many snakes, they have supported decisions which go against their deepest convictions, and this, in the name of solidarity, the team and the strength of the parliamentary group. But above all they did it to expect in return a place at the big table: in the Council of Ministers.

Patient ministers

Let’s take the example of Youri Chassin, formerly of the Montreal Economic Institute. Mr. Chassin has defended responsible management of public finances and the reduction of the tax burden throughout his career. How do you think he reacted to Minister Girard’s announcement of capital gains taxation? How do you think he felt, in his heart of hearts, about the $11 billion deficit budget?

Another MP about whom we talk too little is Gilles Bélanger, MP for Orford. A former accomplished and successful entrepreneur, he has dedicated his life to the world of connectivity, information technology and technological innovation. Meanwhile, Éric Caire occupies the post of Minister of Cybersecurity and Digital Affairs with the catastrophic results that we are experiencing.

Do you remember Céline Haytayan, the star candidate presented by François Legault in Laval-des-Rapides? She was presented as a seasoned manager with significant experience in international economic development. The Prime Minister left her on the sidelines during the formation of his Council of Ministers.

Quality as a problem

The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) has an advantage which is slowly but surely turning into a disadvantage: there are several high-quality deputies within the parliamentary group who all have the legitimate and fair right to access the Council of Ministers. They wait and wait, and feel as if they are not recognized and seen as assets to the ministerial team, whereas they would succeed brilliantly in the private sector.

Loyalty is a principle that works both ways. If they don’t feel that their turn is coming soon, they will end up slamming the door. However, according to the polls and taking into account the departures of Joëlle Boutin and Eric Lefebvre (from the parliamentary group), he cannot afford to offend other backbenchers.

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