(Quebec) At the end of a difficult week in which he claimed he hadn’t read the Hydro Quebec Act despite working hard to find a replacement for Sophie Brochu and after a virulent outing from the SMEs who blamed it government to accentuate their problems with inflation, the liberals have had enough. They call on François Legault to free the “superminister” from the new responsibilities he was given after the elections.
Posted at 5:00 am
In an interview with La Presse, the interim leader of the Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ), Marc Tanguay, made no compromises: “The ‘superminister’, his vision of the economy is big business. That’s all he cares about. For him, the rest is details,” he says.
Since the formation of the new cabinet, François Legault has expanded Pierre Fitzgibbon’s responsibilities to include energy and SMEs. These new files are in addition to those of the economy he has held since his first term in office in 2018.
In the face of inflation, earlier this week the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) denounced that “rather than helping SMEs, the Quebec government is making the problem worse”.
“The biggest change in 2023 is the significant increase in the impact of increases in certain government costs on Quebec SMEs. […] The gradual increase in government costs, such as wage taxes or electricity tariffs, is bad for SMEs in Quebec,” criticized the CFIB.
“The Québec government has two main levers of intervention to support SMEs: limiting the increase in government costs and reducing taxation. It is acting on both fronts by deploying its inflation shield to protect citizens and help them deal with the rising cost of living, but unfortunately it is leaving SMEs without any protection,” she lamented.
Focus on the “detail”
For Marc Tanguay, it’s time for the CAQ government to appoint a minister responsible for SMEs with a full focus on business.
“We’re asking François Legault to relieve the superminister of the functions he didn’t have before the last election, so that he can give them to someone who doesn’t just care about the details,” he says.
The interim leader of the Liberals also does not digest the inaccurate statements made this week by the minister, who claimed to respect the Hydro-Québec Act, even if he openly admitted not having read it. Comments like this make the Economy, Innovation and Energy Minister an easy target for the opposition.
“The vase is full. It’s worse than worse. Hydro-Québec is like its toy. We cannot remain silent about this. François Legault has an unreasonably high level of tolerance towards Pierre Fitzgibbon,” says Mr. Tanguay.
As Quebec prepares to appoint a replacement for Sophie Brochu, who is set to leave Crown Corporation on April 11, Liberals are urging the government to elect someone who will not be a “yes man” and retain hydro- Quebec will improve.
“You need someone who has a solid track record as a manager, who cares about communication and transparency, and is willing to answer questions. At the helm of Hydro-Québec there is no need for a yes man, that’s important,” says Marc Tanguay.