'I can reassure you we love each other': Legault addresses rumoured cabinet rift, green economy
Published Saturday, May 25, 2019 10:52AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 25, 2019 6:33PM EDT
As speculation persists of internal tension within the CAQ government, Francois Legault said his cabinet still works well together eight months after getting elected.
This week there were reports of a rift between immigration minister Simon Jolin-Barrette, the champion of Bill 21, and justice minister Sonia LeBel.
"I can reassure you that we love each other," the premier said at the CAQ's party meetings in Montreal on Saturday morning.
“This morning I asked Sonia (Lebel) and Simon (Jolin-Barrette) to kiss each other in front of everybody... not on the mouth. I can reassure you we love each other” @francoislegault addresses rumours of friction between ministers. @CTVMontreal #qcpoli pic.twitter.com/9XIjzsoxsX— Kelly Greig (@KellyGreig) May 25, 2019
Young people from the group Pour le Futur Montreal were demanding a meeting with Legault to talk about climate change.
A handful demonstrated outside the hotel that CAQ ministers are staying at.
The weekend's meetings are primarily focused on the green economy, ahead of the CAQ's unveiling of its plan for the environment.
"What we want is a balance," Legault said.
"It's important that we create wealth. We have a large difference when we compare ourselves with the rest of Canada. It's a top priority for me to increase the GDP per capita...there are ways to [combine] both the economy and the environment. For example, if you transfer from oil to electricity, it means less importing of oil because we don't produce oil in Quebec and more hydroelectricity produced in Quebec."
Je suis très enthousiaste ce matin d’être au Conseil général de la @coalitionavenir. Les militants sont fébriles et nous avons hâte de parler d’économie verte. #CG2019 #ConseilGénéral2019 #CAQ pic.twitter.com/Qikr8YdkKM— François Legault (@francoislegault) May 25, 2019
This week, the premier announced an increase in electric car subsidies.
The government also seems more open to funding Montreal mayor Valerie Plante's Pink Line proposition for the Montreal metro.
"We need connectivity between the east of Montreal and downtown, whether it's a Pink Line, Purple Line, REM, tram," said Pierre Fitzgibbon, the province's minister of economy and innovation.
Previously, Plante and transport minister Francois Bonnardel had sparred about the proposition, with Plante calling him "out of touch."
Perhaps the timing of the change of heart is not a coincidence.
On May 21, transport minister Francois Bonnardel got a taste of the morning commute when he rode the Orange Line during the morning rush hour.
"It was a little packed this morning," Bonnardel acknowledged, noting that with many university students done classes for summer, the situation could have been worse. "It's a situation that we'll consider seriously. We'll see what projects we'll prioritize in the future."
This week, the United Nations delivered a five-page letter to the provincial government questioning the proposed ban on religious symbols for some public servants.
Jolin-Barrette stood by his controversial legislation.
"The bill does not violate fundamental freedoms," he said. "It's a moderate bill."
With files from The Canadian Press