Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard completes major cabinet shuffle
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard completed a major cabinet shuffle Wednesday ahead of next year's provincial election, although the main players in the finance, health and education portfolios stayed in place.
The most important departments to change hands were Transport, Immigration and Environment.
Couillard also boasted women make up 47 per cent of his new cabinet.
A surprise in the shuffle was the appointment of 35-year-old backbencher Andre Fortin to head Transport, which is a challenging file due to the department's large bureaucracy and past accusations of corruption.
Despite the changes, some of the biggest names in the cabinet will remain in their posts such as Finance Minister Carlos Leitao, Health Minister Gaetan Barrette and Education Minister Sebastien Proulx.
Dominique Anglade remains as economy minister but was given the added role of deputy premier.
David Heurtel switches from Environment to Immigration and now has to manage the controversial upcoming public consultations on so-called systemic racismin the province.
Couillard has signalled he is open to reviewing the consultations, which have been widely criticized and cited as a reason the party suffered a crushing defeat last week in a byelection in the former safe seat of Louis-hebert.
Ex-immigration minister Kathleen Weil becomes the head of the newly created secretariat for anglo affairs, a department the province's English-speaking community had been requesting for years.
Couillard spoke to English-quebecers directly in his speech following the shuffle, telling them: ``You are not only part of Quebec, you are home.''
After 3 1/2 years in power since his election in April 2014, Couillard was looking to do whatever he could to counter the opposition's claims his Liberals are worn out.
The general election is set for next October.