Quebec election: Legault’s tense relationship with Ottawa likely to now continue


Francois Legault’s re-election in Quebec Monday evening means an already frosty relationship between his authorities and Ottawa will probably proceed, consultants say.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated Legault after the Quebec premier’s Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) was projected to type a second majority authorities, vowing to work collectively shifting ahead. However court docket challenges and a looming combat over immigration are certain to check that promise.

“I don’t assume that these tensions will ease so long as the Liberals stay in energy in Ottawa and Legault and the CAQ stay in energy in Quebec Metropolis,” mentioned Daniel Beland, a political science professor at McGill College.

“There are merely basic variations between them in the way in which they see the federation.”

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François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec wins one other majority authorities

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Legault’s first time period noticed his nationalist agenda conflict with Trudeau’s Liberal authorities a lot of instances — most notably when the prime minister and members of his cupboard overtly criticized Quebec’s secularism regulation, generally known as Invoice 21, and Invoice 96, which bolsters protections for the French language.

Each payments are presently earlier than the courts in Quebec, and Ottawa has promised to affix a authorized problem to Invoice 21 if it reaches the Supreme Court docket of Canada.

Legault has additionally been some of the vocal premiers calling on Trudeau to extend federal funding for well being care, which has been met with resistance by the Liberals. Legault has gone additional by insisting that any well being switch top-up should additionally respect Quebec’s means to control its personal health-care system with out federal interference.

Through the 2021 federal election, Legault even went as far as to say then-Conservative chief Erin O’Toole could be simpler to work with as prime minister, calling the Liberals, NDP and Greens “harmful” to nationalist pursuits.

Click to play video: 'Quebec election: Battle for second place as Legault leads polls'

Quebec election: Battle for second place as Legault leads polls

Quebec election: Battle for second place as Legault leads polls

Now that Legault is ready to be premier by means of the remainder of Trudeau’s present mandate, extra fights are anticipated within the years forward.

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Most crucially, Legault has caught consideration together with his push for additional immigration powers over household reunification — a duty presently shared between the provincial and federal governments — as a way to restrict non-French-speaking migration into Quebec.

Final spring, when Legault promised to make the dispute a marketing campaign challenge, Trudeau mentioned he had no intention of relinquishing any of these powers.

“It’s clear {that a} nation should have a say in its immigration,” he instructed reporters then, assuring the safety of French and francophone immigration was “crucial” to his authorities.

But Legault has doubled down on his demand through the marketing campaign, together with not ruling out the potential for a referendum on the problem. He additionally sparked criticism from voters and federal Liberal caucus members by saying non-French-speaking immigration to the province is a menace to “nationwide cohesion.”

Learn extra:

Quebec election: Federal minister says Legault dividing Quebecers on immigration

Quebec presently accepts about 50,000 immigrants a yr. Going past that quantity could be “suicidal,” Legault mentioned final week, as a result of it could be unattainable to correctly combine them and educate them French.

“It was speaking level through the marketing campaign … however I’m not overly sure that (Legault) will make an enormous deal out of this,” mentioned André Lecours, a political science professor on the College of Ottawa.

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Though Legault has claimed household reunification instances symbolize at the very least 20 per cent of all immigrants coming into Quebec yearly, Lecours says most Quebecers agree that wouldn’t result in as massive a menace on French because the premier makes it out to be.

Lecours predicts the true rivalry between Quebec Metropolis and Ottawa will come within the ongoing authorized battles over payments 21 and 96, and whether or not the federal authorities follows by means of on its promise to affix any federal appeals.

“There might be a structural collision there … and I don’t assume the prime minister needs it, however it’s probably coming sooner or later,” he mentioned.

Click to play video: 'Trudeau’s Liberals vulnerable to French-language issues'

Trudeau’s Liberals weak to French-language points

Trudeau’s Liberals weak to French-language points – Sep 4, 2022

Beland says Legault might additionally trigger complications for the federal Liberals by persevering with to align with different right-leaning premiers throughout the nation like Ontario Premier Doug Ford on not simply immigration, but additionally health-care funding and financial points.

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He may additionally discover solidarity with the following premier of Alberta, the place the candidates to interchange United Conservative Get together chief Jason Kenney have made various appeals for their very own sovereignty.

“These are all issues the Liberals in Ottawa are very a lot conscious of,” Beland mentioned.

Ford was fast to congratulate “my good friend” Legault on his election win Monday evening on Twitter. Fellow right-leaning premiers Scott Moe of Saskatchewan and Heather Stefanson of Manitoba additionally celebrated Legault’s victory.

Legault’s expanded mandate after Monday’s vote — growing the CAQ’s seats within the nationwide meeting to 90 from 74  — may also be an element shifting ahead.

Click to play video: 'Quebec Election 2022: François Legault’s CAQ wins another majority government in Global News projection'

Quebec Election 2022: François Legault’s CAQ wins one other majority authorities in World Information projection

Quebec Election 2022: François Legault’s CAQ wins one other majority authorities in World Information projection

Though Trudeau and his authorities have pushed again on a few of Legault’s extra nationalistic strikes, Beland provides the Liberals must watch out about not beginning an intergovernmental conflict with the strongly-supported premier of a vote-rich province.

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He expects extra makes an attempt at outreach, such because the proposed adjustments to the Official Languages Act final yr that will enhance French immersion programs throughout the nation and a few French-language protections in federal workplaces, within the years to come back.

“As long as Legault stays fashionable, there might be a robust incentive for Trudeau and the Liberals to … meet within the center and stay diplomatic on some points,” he mentioned.

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