The newly-anointed Parti Quebecois government held its first meeting Thursday morning, with Premier Pauline Marois leading her 23 cabinet ministers.

Former journalist and long-time PQ advisor Jean-Francois Lisee is the minister responsible for Montreal, and part of his job is reaching out to the anglophone community.

Lisee said that anglophones and francophones have "to think outside the box," saying Quebec is a garden, not a box.

The Quebec Community Groups Network issued a statement Wednesday saying they welcome Lisee's appointment, saying that with this appointment the organization feels Marois is sending a signal to all Quebecers that the English-speaking community is an integral part of the fabric of the province.

For his part Lisee said the PQ will always defend and promote French, but he's confident there can be a balance.

"We want to make sure that it is not seen as an assault on Anglo rights. I think we can reframe this question in a way that what's good for French is not bad for English, that we're all in this together," said Lisee.

"We have to find ways not to feel on the defensive every time one of the groups has a step forward, and that's what I'll work on."


Student leaders anticipating tuition changes

Meanwhile student leaders are eagerly waiting for a meeting with Pierre Duchesne, the Radio-Canada reporter turned Higher Education minister.

Eliane Laberge, the leader of CEGEP group FECQ, said there are urgent issues to discuss, especially with students struggling to get grants at the beginning of the semester.

"Some of them have some difficulties to find and pay for food, so we have to help them, and also we have to be sure we are starting the process of organization for a summit of education," said Laberge.


23 ministers in cabinet

The cabinet is:

  • Stephane Bedard: Government Administration/Pres. of Treasury Board
  • Stephane Bergeron: Public Security
  • Pascale Berube: Tourism
  • Yves-Francois Blanchet: Government Whip, Minister for Mauricie and Central Quebec
  • Alexandre Cloutier: Intergovernmental Affairs and Promotion of Soveignty
  • Diane De Courcy: Charter of French Language, Immigration
  • Bernard Drainville: Democratic Institutions
  • Pierre Duchesne: Minister of higher education
  • Marjolain Dufour: Caucus president
  • Sylvain Gaudrault: Transport
  • Francois Gendron: Deputy Premier & Minister of Agriculture
  • Rejean Hebert : Health
  • Maka Kotto: Culture
  • Elizabeth Larouche: Native Affairs
  • Nicole Leger: Family
  • Gaetan Lelievre : Regions
  • Jean-Francois Lisee: International relations, Francophonie, and Montreal
  • Marie Malavoy: Education, recreation & sport
  • Agnes Maltais: Labour
  • Nicolas Marceau: Finance
  • Martine Ouellet: Natural Resources
  • Bertrand St-Arnaud: Justice minister
  • Elaine Zakaib: Industry


On Sept. 21, Yves Blanchet was named Minister for Mauricie and Central Quebec., taking those positions from Bernard Drainville and Pierre Duchesne, respectively.