Que­bec Premier Philippe Couil­lard com­pletes ma­jor cab­i­net shuf­fle

Sherbrooke Record - - EDITORIAL - By Giuseppe Valiante THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

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.

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