After four years in power | Has the Legault government kept its promises?

“One hundred percent” of the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) promises will be fulfilled, Prime Minister François Legault said at the start of his mandate. Four years later, about half of CAQ promises will be fully realized, 20% partially and 30% broken, experts estimate. The chief caquiste notes a result similar to that of previous governments, but lower than that of Philippe Couillard, who, however, did not have to manage a pandemic. Overview as the CAQ meets this weekend in a pre-election convention.

Posted at 5:00 am

Tommy Choinard

Tommy Choinard
The press

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On Saturday, the CAQ will host a panel on “the importance of electoral promises” on the occasion of its congress. The party had invited Polimeter experts, who closely monitor governments’ electoral pledges, but declined the invitation to maintain their independence, said Lisa Birch, executive director of the university’s Center for Public Policy Analysis. According to her, the proportion of promises fulfilled by the CAQ will be “lower” than that of the previous Liberal government, when Philippe Couillard had fulfilled 81% of his 158 promises in whole or in part (of which 59%). However, the CAQ has made more commitments, 251. Currently, the Polimètre estimates on its website the percentage of fully fulfilled promises at 46%, the partially fulfilled promises at 14% and the promises at 3%. broken. About 31% of pledges are on track and 6% are pending, but “the majority” of these are likely to be broken at the end of the term “because there isn’t enough action to say these promises are even partially fulfilled.” “. explains Polimeter data scientist Alexandre Fortier-Chouinard.

The Polimeter can at this point give a preview of the final result of the Legault government, especially as there are only two weeks of session and three months of mandate left. His conclusion: “The outcome for the Legault administration is expected to be very similar to the results of previous administrations. We are in the water of more or less 50% of the promises fully realized, 20% partially and 30% broken,” says Alexandre Fortier-Chouinard. How does François Legault compare to other prime ministers who have dealt with a pandemic? According to the Polimeter, Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford, who is currently campaigning, has fully delivered on 37% of his 136 promises and 42% partially, while 21% have been broken.

Tax burden and economy


PHOTOGRAPH YAN DOUBLE, LE SOLEIL ARCHIVES

Finance Minister Eric Girard to present Quebec’s latest budget in March

As promised, and sooner than expected, the Legault government has put the money back into taxpayers’ pockets. The $8 billion surplus left by Philippe Couillard’s liberals made his job easier. The caquistes have reduced the school tax by 600 million by introducing a single rate. They have increased child support by 800 million. They restored the uniform rate for day care and abolished the additional contribution modulated according to income. They have increased support for children with disabilities and support for the elderly. In terms of the economy, the government implemented the reform of Investissement Québec, developed the electric transport sector and started to create innovation zones.

Promises kept and broken in health


PHOTOGRAPH ALAIN ROBERGE, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

The average length of a stretcher stay in the emergency room reached 17 hours and 36 minutes, a long way from the target.

The CAQ has increased health spending by more than 4.1% per year. She has invested more than promised in home care, but the waiting list for service has grown. Quebec is on track to deliver on its promise to deliver 2,600 places to senior housing by the fall, but with a much higher bill than expected. Quebec has raised the legal age to consume cannabis to 21. He capped the hospital parking fee to $10 per day. Quebec has recovered for free for an in vitro fertilization cycle. However, not all Quebec residents have access to a primary care physician — nearly 1 million people are still on the waiting list. The maximum period of 36 hours to consult a doctor has not been reached. The government has not reduced the average wait time for a visit to a doctor in the emergency room to 90 minutes. In fact, it is almost 150 minutes. The average length of a stretcher stay in the emergency room reached 17 hours and 36 minutes, a long way from the target. After promising to cut $1 billion a year in medical specialist fees, François Legault has signed an agreement that represents savings far short of his commitment. It has not abolished “mandatory overtime” or revised the patient-nurse relationship.

Education and childcare


PHOTOGRAPH DAVID BOILY, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

It will take another two years – if not longer – to deliver on the promise of a universal 4-year kindergarten. Above, the Minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge.

François Legault has committed to this promise: to offer a 4-year kindergarten to everyone, everywhere in Quebec. However, the 2600 lessons needed are still not there. At the start of the school year, there will be 1,610. It will take another two years—or even longer—to reach the promised goal. Quebec increased teachers’ salaries at the start of their careers. He abolished school elections and turned school boards into service centers for schools – except in the Anglophone network, where it’s the status quo. Quebec has launched a school renovation project, but the maintenance deficit of the school buildings has increased over the years. He has increased spending on education by at least 3.5% per year. Quebec just passed the law to create a National Student Protector. It did not lay a floor for professional services in schools. Quebec had pledged to ‘significantly’ reduce the waiting list for childcare places. However, there are 50,000 children on this list, while in 2018 there were 42,000. The Legault government has failed to create all the new places it promised at the start of its mandate.

Identity and Nationalism


PHOTOGRAPH ROBERT SKINNER, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Demonstration, in May 2019, against Bill 21 on secularism and the wearing of religious symbols

With the adoption of Bill 96, a post of Commissioner for the French language was created and the mandate of the Office de la langue française was strengthened. Bill 101 will apply to federally chartered companies, such as banks, airlines and telecommunications companies. Also in line with the promises, the government banned the wearing of religious symbols by coerced state agents (police, prison guards, judges and prosecutors) and teachers. It reduced the number of newcomers from 50,000 to 40,000, but for only one year. He imposed a test of Quebec values ​​for newcomers, less restrictive than expected. In its relations with Ottawa, the Legault government has not achieved the benefits envisioned in its “Nationalist Plan.” For example, there is no single tax return, while Quebec has not been given more powers in the areas of immigration and culture. The Trudeau and Legault governments nevertheless signed some administrative agreements, including one on the appointment of a Quebec judge to the Supreme Court.

Management


PHOTOGRAPH ROBERT SKINNER, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

The appointments of the Director of Criminal and Criminal Prosecution, the Head of the Sûreté du Québec and the Head of UPAC are now being made with the support of two-thirds of the National Assembly’s deputies.

It was the first bill of the CAQ: the appointments of the Director of Criminal and Criminal Prosecution, the Head of the Sûreté du Québec and the Head of the UPAC are now made with the support of two-thirds of the deputies of the National Assembly in rather than be the sole prerogative of the government. However, the Caquists broke their election promise to overhaul the voting system. The promised parliamentary reform has been submitted, but no progress has been made on the file. For example, François Legault promised to set up a free voting mechanism and an obligation to allow the National Assembly to study a predetermined number of opposition bills. The CAQ has done nothing to improve whistleblower protection. The number of civil servants in ministries has increased by almost 4,000 – from 68,618 in 2018-2019 to 72,554 FTEs (full-time equivalent) in 2021-2022 – while the CAK had committed to reduce administrative functions by 5,000. The cabinet has not changed the selection process for administrative judges.

Transport and municipalities


PHOTOGRAPH PATRICE LAROCHE, LE SOLEIL ARCHIVES

The Minister of Transport, François Bonnardel, at a press conference to present a new version of the Quebec-Lévis tunnel project, on April 14

There is no “build start” of the third link, contrary to the CAQ promise. The new version of the Quebec-Lévis tunnel project was presented this spring and much information is not yet known. Quebec gave the green light last spring for the extension of the blue line of the Montreal metro. But the “REM de l’Est”, now administered by the government and the city rather than the Caisse de depot et placement, is currently under review. Quebec relinquished a portion of QST revenue to municipalities. It is in the process of making high-speed internet accessible across the region. He established a fund to preserve religious heritage.

Surroundings


PHOTOGRAPH HUGO-SÉBASTIEN AUBERT, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Quebec has submitted a green plan that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 37.5% from 1990 levels by 2030. Experts have argued that the measures announced will not be enough to achieve this.

The CAQ had talked very little about the environment during the 2018 campaign. François Legault’s party had nevertheless committed itself to respecting “the key greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets adopted by the international community”. Quebec has submitted a green plan that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 37.5% from 1990 levels by 2030. Experts have argued that the measures announced will not be enough to achieve this. In addition, Quebec has concluded a hydropower export contract with New York State.

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