Pay attention to the regions! | The Journal of Montreal

If François Legault went from 74 seats to 90 between 2018 and 2022, it is mainly thanks to his breakthrough in the regions, especially in the regions furthest from Montreal. Has his Council of Ministers returned the favor to the regions? Not really.

The majority of the CAQ’s gains came from Gaspésie, Jonquière, Rouyn, and the Côte-Nord. Despite some good announcements for these regions, at least two aspects of the formation of the Council of Ministers are provoking strong reactions.

Anger in Abitibi-Témiscamingue

First hitch: Abitibi-Témiscamingue is left out. The three ridings in this region elected candidates from the CAQ. Even the gigantic riding of Ungava, which covers all of northern Quebec including some localities adjacent to Abitibi, voted CAQ. However, this region will not have a representative at the Cabinet table.

In the riding of Rouyn-Noranda–Témiscaminque, the election was a fight to the finish with the efficient MP Émilise Lessard-Therrien of Québec solidaire. The voters finally chose to join the CAQ clan as well. Some probably did it hoping to have a minister in their riding.

Nothing was more predictable than the anger being expressed in this region today. Municipal elected officials, chambers of commerce, all the local leadership feels that the region is neglected. The most severe say they feel betrayed.

We hear similar echoes in the Gaspé. However, in this case, we can defend that the presence of a regional minister in Rimouski covers the greater Bas-Saint-Laurent–Gaspésie region. Gaspé sensitivities will nevertheless be expressed.

The other hitch is the inclusion of Regional Development in the economic superministry of Pierre Fitzgibbon. Weird. He is a member of the Montreal crown. And he is also Minister of Metropolitan France. Philippe Couillard had made the same mistake. That says a lot about how little importance is now given to this ministry.

Frankly, this strategic ministry should be reserved for an elected official who represents a regional constituency. An elected official who lives and understands the particularities and weaknesses of regional economies.

These two rebuffs to the regions are a shadow on the board of a formation of the Council of Ministers generally well received.

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An inspiring minister

On the positive side for the regions, we must certainly mention the arrival on the Côte-Nord of Kateri Champagne Jourdain. Expectations are high for this solid and inspiring woman, the first Aboriginal woman to enter the National Assembly.

I insist on saying that while her appointment as minister is historic because of her Innu origins, she was first chosen for her skills and not her origins. His resume is impressive. His experiences in the economic world equip him advantageously for the future.

Natural in communication, she demonstrates great confidence in her abilities while keeping her feet on the ground.

Remember his name. By acquiring political experience, she will take the lead.


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