The Legault government is seriously considering appointing CAQ strongman Caroline St-Hilaire, who lost in Sherbrooke, as delegate to the Quebec office in Barcelona, our parliamentary office has learned.
• Also read: Labrie resists at St-Hilaire in Sherbrooke
According to one of our sources, his appointment could be formalized by the Council of Ministers in the coming days.
The prime minister’s office has refused to confirm the information, but has not denied it.
Contacted by our Parliament office, the key stakeholder did the same without commenting further. “I’ve had many conversations with many people since the election… At the moment I have nothing to confirm or deny,” Ms St-Hilaire said in a text message.
Until last October, the post of delegate for the Bureau du Québec in Barcelona was occupied by Isabelle Dessureault, who is now postal director of the Ministère des Relations Internationales du Québec in the United States.
The interim has been provided by the current director and designated post manager of the Quebec office in Barcelona, Maël Solen Picard for four months.
Following the Prime Minister’s entourage, it is assured that there is nothing final or official yet on who might be appointed in the Catalonian capital. Talks are still ongoing and several options are on the table, it said.
The former Mayor of Longueuil and ex-Bloquiste MP, who left her role as a political analyst at La Joute to join a public relations firm in December 2021, tried but unsuccessfully to get elected under the CAQ banner in Sherbrooke will , on October 3rd.
While many expected a close fight, Solidarity MP Christine Labrie was eventually re-elected by nearly 2,500 votes ahead of Ms St-Hilaire.
During the CAQ’s tenure to date, it was Ms St-Hilaire’s wife, Maka Kotto, who made the headlines under pressure from then Culture Secretary Nathalie Roy. She saw the former Bloc member and former PQ minister as director-general of the Conservatoire de musique et d’art dramatique du Québec, but the appointment of the man, who is also a columnist for the journal, never materialized and the process had to be repeated a second time.
Opposition parties had subsequently denounced what they saw as another case of partisan appointments, while before he became prime minister in 2018, François Legault had often repeated that the CAQ would be about the “ruling party-appointed friends”.
Since then, a dozen CAQ-affiliated individuals, political staffers and former candidates have been appointed to key positions by the Legault administration, among others.
Last fall, another key candidate who was defeated on October 3, Audrey Murray (Maurice-Richard), became deputy secretary of tourism.
In government, we defend ourselves by ensuring that all appointments are based on competence first. “That is criterion number 1,” we assured our parliamentary office.
The Liberal opposition, whose members gathered in a parliamentary group in Lac-Beauport, reacted quickly to Ms St-Hilaire’s message.
“Was it part of the deal before I went into politics as a candidate with the CAQ that if I ever failed in Sherbrooke as an MP, there would be a consolation prize later as a minister? named somewhere,” said Liberal MP Monsef Derraji.
“What I must remind Mr. Legault today is not to break his promises. Mr Legault had promised Quebecers that it was over partisan appointments. So he just has to follow his principles,” he added.
“Can we trust the word of F. Legault,” PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon later said on Twitter, recalling other partisan appointments including Catherine Loubier in New York in 2019 and Marie Grégoire as PDQ of the Library and National Archives of Quebec, in 2021.
For his part, Pascal Bérubé, MP for the PQ, recalled that the CAQ had not fulfilled its commitment to present a bill to end partisan appointments in the top echelons of the state.
According to him, if Caroline St-Hilaire had not worn the CAQ colors in the last election, she would never have been offered the position of Quebec delegate in Barcelona.
“(François Legault) makes partisan appointments, particularly to please his former candidates, and in the case of Caroline St-Hilaire, it is a partisan appointment, he scoffed. It is no different from the PLQ! “.
– In collaboration with Rémi Nadeau, Geneviève Lajoie and Gabriel Côté, agency QMI
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