Francois Legault replaces environment minister, saying the role was 'difficult for her'
Published Tuesday, January 8, 2019 3:47PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 8, 2019 9:44PM EST
Premier Francois Legault has named a new environment minister, less than three months after naming his cabinet.
At a news conference in Quebec City Tuesday afternoon, Legault said he is replacing political newcomer MarieChantal Chasse with Deux-Montagnes MNA Benoit Charette.
Standing next to Charette, Legault praised the CAQ MNA, who has been with the party since its inception, calling him “extremely competent and dedicated.”
“Climate change is a huge challenge for our society. Our government takes this issue very seriously. What we are aiming for is the best possible combination of GHG reduction, wealth creation and quality of life for Quebecers,” he said. “We will remain pragmatic in the matter and will implement concrete solutions so that Quebec becomes a model for renewable energy, sustainable development and greenhouse gas reduction, among others.”
Charette was first elected under the PQ in 2008, before running for the CAQ in 2012. He was defeated that year, but he won the seat in 2014.
Chasse had difficulties
Legault said he took chances on many newcomers to politics, and for the most part it is working out well, he said.
Chasse appeared to have more trouble, said Legault, explaining that they sat down together in recent days and made the decision she would be removed from the role.
Legault said he felt the cabinet role was “difficult for her,” specifically when it came to communicating with the media.
On a Facebook post Tuesday evening, Chasse said "I leave my position with my head up, proud of the work accomplished and I intend to continue to take on important and difficult challenges as I have done all my life."
Chasse had her share of challenges; shortly after she was sworn in, she was unable to answer questions from reporters about the CAQ’s plan to fight climate change.
“MarieChantal, she’s an engineer, she’s a businesswoman, she’s got many qualities, but she didn’t have the chance in her career to exchange with journalists,” he said.
Legault has come under fire for not taking the environment dossier seriously enough, in part by saying he was ‘too busy’ to attend the UN climate change conference in Poland in December, leaving Chasse to represent Quebec.
No more gender parity
With Chasse’s role being replaced by Charette, there is no longer gender parity in Francois Legault’s cabinet, one of his election campaign promises.
The Liberal opposition didn’t fail to mention that: Helene David, who served as cabinet minister for the status of women in the previous government, said “it’s a shame” Legault appointed a man “when there are so many women in his caucus.”
Legault said he didn’t intend to make any more changes to his cabinet in the near future, saying he was “very happy” with his choices.