Quebec's government names new cabinet
Published Thursday, January 28, 2016 10:40AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 28, 2016 9:47PM EST
Premier Philippe Couillard has made extensive changes to his cabinet, aiming for more gender parity and youth among his ministers.
Many new posts have been created, and several newcomers added, while two ministers were removed from cabinet entirely.
Yet at the same time, Couillard maintained a dozen ministers in their current posts, showing full confidence in the tasks they have been doing.
The new cabinet includes 30 people, plus Couillard, and so is slightly larger than the cabinet named in 2014.
The new cabinet is:
Dominique Anglade, Minister for Economic Development, Innovation and Exports (newcomer)
Pierre Arcand, Energy and Natural Resources, Plan Nord, and North Shore
Gaetan Barrette, Health and Social Services
Stephane Billette: Government whip
Francois Blais, Employment (Education)
Luc Blanchette, Mining Abitibi-Temiscamingue and Northern Quebec
Julie Boulet, Tourism (newcomer)
Francine Charbonneau, Seniors, Bullying, and Laval(Family)
Lucie Charlebois, Youth, Rehabilitation, Public Health
Martin Coiteux, Municipal Affairs, Public Security, Montreal (President of Treasury Board)
Jean D'Amour, Maritime Strategy, Lower St. Lawrence Valley
Jacques Daoust, Transport (Economic Development)
Helene David, Culture and Communications, responsible for the promotion and protection of the French language
Rita Lucia Cassanova de Santis, Access to Information, Democratic Reform (newcomer)
Luc Fortin, Sports and Eastern Townships
Jean-Marc Fournier, Intergovernmental Affairs
Sam Hamad, Treasury Board, Quebec City region (Labour)
David Heurtel, Environment
Geoff Kelley, Aboriginal Affairs
Carlos Leitao, Finance
Laurent Lessard, Forestry
Nicole Menard: President of the Liberal caucus
Pierre Moreau, Education (interim Public Security, Municipal Affairs)
Pierre Paradis, Pierre Paradis, Agriculture, Food and Fisheries
Sebastien Proulx, Family (newcomer)
Christine St-Pierre, International Relations and Francophonie
Lise Theriault, Women, Status of Women, Small and Medium-sized Businesses, Deputy Premier (Public Security, Deputy Premier)
Stephanie Vallee, Justice, Outaouais (loses Status of Women)
Dominique Vien, Labour, Chaudiere-Appalaches (Tourism)
Kathleen Weil: Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion
Two ministers were shuffled out of cabinet entirely: Robert Poeti and Jean-Denis Girard.
Dominque Anglade, who is taking over the economy portfolio, has a long resume that includes an MBA and she's well known in Montreal’s business community, but she's a political newcomer.
“I will be working quite hard, and people who have worked with me in the past know how hard I work. I'm really looking forward to working with all my colleagues and we will have a plan to share with you very soon,” she said.
Poeti, the former minister for Montreal and Transportation was first elected in 2012, and named to cabinet in 2014 by Couillard.
Poeti did not attend Wednesday's ceremony and said he is taking time to reflect on his career in politics.
Girard was the former minister for small and medium-sized businesses.
With the Liberals leading in the polls, some analysts don't see such a major shuffle as necessary right now. There's still another two years before the next election and changing the guard again before 2018 would raise questions about the government's leadership and stability. But it seems the premier is hoping his gamble will pay off.
Next week, the Liberals will meet for a two-day caucus to strategize ahead of the new session at the National Assembly, which starts Feb. 9.