CAQ caucus readies plans for school boards and more in pre-session caucus
Published Thursday, September 12, 2019 4:30PM EDT Last Updated Thursday, September 12, 2019 7:50PM EDT
Premier Francois Legault and his CAQ caucus are meeting in Riviere-du-Loup, analyzing their first year in power and strategizing for the months ahead.
Last September, Legault was campaigning as leader of the second opposition -- now, he's preparing for his second session at the National Assembly as premier, leading a majority government with 75 MNAs.
Here are some of the items the caucus aims to address this session:
Delivering on a campaign promise, the CAQ government will subsidize prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses for children under 18 up to $250 every two years, a multi-million dollar plan.
"$34.5 million per year, to cover about 145,000 children," said Junior Health Minister Lionel Carmant.
Defending Bill 21
In keeping with his vision for a secular Quebec, Legault continues to defend Bill 21, doubling down on his request to federal party leaders to stay out of the debate and drop any plans to contest the law on religious symbols in court.
"I think it's normal in a federal election that premiers of different provinces have demands and make sure that the different leaders have clear proposals about important matters for their citizens," he said.
Abolishing school boards
After adopting its law on secularism, the CAQ is now turning its attention to school boards.
The party campaigned on a promise to abolish them and replace them with service centres, a proposal the English school boards had promised to fight.
With reports now circulating about an exemption for English boards, it appears the government may be trying to avoid another legal battle -- although the premier and Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge still won't confirm their exact plans.
"We're a government listening to citizens, including anglophones. We're open to making compromises when it makes sense and when it's supported by the population," said Legault.
Legault said the school boards issue is up for discussion in caucus and no final decision has been made, but a bill will be tabled in the coming weeks.