Swearing-In of Cabinet — Rhetoric and Threats

The new Quebec Cabinet was sworn in October 18. The monopoly media and pundits spoke of winds of change blowing over Quebec because the Cabinet has gender parity with 13 men and 13 women, while young MNAs have become ministers and only two of them have prior ministerial experience. As for winds of change, the Minister of Finance, Minister of Economy and the Treasury Board President are bankers and financiers. The Minister of Labour was the company negotiator in the three-year strike at aeronautical firm Delastek in the Mauricie region, one of the longest labour disputes in recent Quebec history. Their policy of paying the rich and of implementing the anti-social offensive is written all over their careers.

The total baseness of the electoral campaign has been forgotten — the fact that the Legault government obtained a « resounding majority » with 37.4 per cent of the votes cast, which represents less than 25 per cent of registered voters, is also forgotten. Chantier politique sincerely believes that the legitimacy and credibility crisis of the political and electoral process will not disappear with such bloated rhetoric.

Premier François Legault continued his pompous talk whereby his is the government of « all Quebeckers. » Following the swearing-in of Cabinet, he said: « Today, we are not forming the CAQ government, we are forming the government of Quebeckers. Of all Quebeckers. Let me reassure the people of Gaspésie, of the North Shore or Montreal’s West Island of this: we will not forget you. We are also forming your government. »

Then, revisiting his project to present a bill between now and the end of the year to ban the wearing of religious symbols for persons considered to be in a position of authority, he said, « There will have to be adhesion to our changes from the largest section of the population. There will never be unanimity. Besides, there is no way that we will backtrack in the face of pressure groups or bumps, the first small bumps. »

Who are these « pressure groups » that the Premier is gathering into an amorphous category, devoid of any human personality, to create the impression that they are a few troublemakers adversely affecting a mythical Quebec that the Legault government is claiming to represent. Are we to understand that they are not part of « all Quebeckers »?

The same goes for public sector employees whose jobs the Legault government is intent on eliminating. In his speech, the Premier reminded them that they must participate in « changing habits and attitudes » in the public sector. Do they correspond to the definition of « all Quebeckers » the Premier is giving when invoking his majority and his « clear mandate »?

The polity requires institutions and arrangements that allow for the settling of conflicts between individuals, or between individuals and collectives, and the harmonization of individual and collective interests with the general interests of the society.

Far from sorting out the problems, high-sounding rhetoric, denigration and criminalization will only exacerbate them.