CAQ readying legislation to ban religious symbols for public employees


 31 January 2019

The CAQ is talking about religious symbols as it prepares for a new session at the National Assembly.

The party’s caucus is debating strategy behind closed doors in Gatineau, including the government’s signature plan to ban the wearing of religious symbols for some provincial employees.

Premier Francois Legault said it’s important to send a message that people in authority, such as police officers, judges, Crown prosecutors, and teachers must not wear religious symbols when on the job.

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Jean-François Roberge is stepping in to ease classroom overcrowding


 28 January 2019

The province is stepping in to ease classroom overcrowding, announcing a West Island English high school with unused space will be transferred permanently to the francophone education system.

Starting in September, Riverdale High School, located in Pierrefonds and operated by the Lester B. Pearson board, will close and become the sole property of the Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys, which is beset with overflowing schools.

The 441 English-system students enrolled at Riverdale — which has a total capacity of 950 — are expected to be relocated to other schools in the board at the end of the academic year.

Details of how the transfer will work have not yet been announced by Pearson. Board officials indicated they are still waiting for formal notification of Education Minister Jean-François Roberge’s plans.

Roberge is to make the announcement Monday in Quebec City. Invoking the urgency of the switch, Roberge will use executive powers he possesses under the Education Act to conduct the transfer directly, instead of letting the boards do it.

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Pubic security minister says looser conditions will encourage gun owners to sign on to registry

CAQ government softens long-gun registry requirements as compliance deadline approaches


 24 January 2019

With less than a week before the deadline to register long guns in Quebec, the provincial government is loosening the requirements for long-gun owners.

Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault made the announcement at the National Assembly Wednesday, saying she’s hopeful that changing the requirements to register long guns will increase compliance.

The registry is set to go into effect on Jan. 29, but it’s faced pushback from gun owners.

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Quebecers worried about the health of Lake Memphremagog

CAQ MNA for Orford, Gilles Bélanger, head to Vermont in bid to protect Lake Memphremagog from pollution


 23 January 2019

Quebecers worried about the health of Lake Memphremagog are in Vermont today in a last-ditch effort to halt the expansion of a garbage dump on the U.S. side of the lake.

The Coventry landfill expansion project has gotten pushback over environmental concerns that wastewater from the landfill’s treatment plant is polluting the lake, which straddles the Quebec-Vermont border.

Those concerns increased in September, when Vermont admitted it hasn’t been monitoring the lake to track the effect of the treated wastewater that’s discharged into it.

The lake is the source of drinking water for at least 170,000 people in the Eastern Townships, including the City of Sherbrooke.

The Quebec delegation — including the CAQ MNA for Orford, Gilles Bélanger, representatives of Sherbrooke and the MRC of Memphremagog — is asking the environmental commission that deals with state land use and development to boost monitoring of the landfill’s effect on the lake.

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We will also investigate a number of serious incidents

Government to investigate up to a decade of alleged EMSB ‘irregularities’


 23 January 2019

During last week’s Wednesday morning press conference, Québec Education Minister Jean-Franҫois Roberge told the media that his department will launch a thorough investigation into a long series of alleged incidents that’s hobbled the English Montreal School Board’s management. The government is also investigating a number of serious incidents that include several six-figure contracts that were granted without being submitted to public tender as required by law. Other issues include payments for unjustified ‘extras’ that never seemed to raise any questions from school board officials.

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The premier is there to represent francophone's majority in North America

Legault, France’s Macron renew historic ties on anniversary of Quebec flag


 21 January 2019

“I am the only head of state in North America to represent a francophone majority and so I have a responsibility to protect and promote French,” Legault said.

French president Emmanuel Macron underlined the historic ties between France and Quebec during a meeting Monday at the Élysée palace with Quebec Premier François Legault.

After making a brief statement to journalists and without taking any questions, the two men then attended a private meeting before dining with their spouses.

They noted that the meeting occurred on the 71st anniversary of the Quebec flag.

Macron said that France and Quebec had common objectives on the international scene, including the fight against climate change and the development of artificial intelligence.

Legault, who described himself as “head of state” of Quebec, said he was touched by the welcome he had received, which included all honours accorded high-ranking dignitaries.

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Premier François Legault Thursday took advantage of the federal cabinet meeting in Sherbrooke to pressure the prime minister

Legault puts squeeze on Trudeau in Sherbrooke meeting


 21 January 2019

With the country now into an election year, Premier François Legault has upped the pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to get moving on Quebec’s outstanding issues.

Emerging from a one-on-one meeting with Trudeau on Thursday, Legault noted that the two revisited the same issues — from immigration to infrastructure funding to the creation of a single tax form for Quebecers — they discussed at their two previous meetings.

“We already had discussions, now it’s time to move into action,” Legault told reporters at a news conference following the meeting in Sherbrooke, where the federal Liberal cabinet is hunkered down.

“We’re waiting for answers. We hope to have responses and some confirmations in the coming weeks.”

He added he hoped for answers in time for his own party’s caucus meeting in Gatineau in two weeks to prepare for the resumption of work at the National Assembly Feb. 5.

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New immigrants will be tested on their knowledge of French and Quebec values within their first three years living in the province

Quebec Immigration Minister working on French-language, values test for newcomers


 21 January 2019

Quebec Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette reiterated Wednesday that new immigrants will be tested on their knowledge of French and Quebec values within their first three years living in the province.

He refused to provide more information on the test’s details but admitted it would mean changing the selection criteria and continuing negotiations with the federal government.

“We want to be assured that immigrants who choose Quebec can speak French, have employment at the highest of their competence and know Quebec values,” Jolin-Barrette said.

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Legault said he believes all parties will want to study expanding the rules as well

François Legault plans to honour campaign promise to examine the issue


 17 January 2019

Premier François Legault says his government is open to giving those who are seriously ill, but not facing imminent death, access to medically assisted dying.

Legault told reporters Thursday he made a campaign promise to look into the issue, and plans to honour that pledge — but warned it will take time.

“We’re going to look into it, and we’re going to do it the right way,” he said.

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A total of 957 places are available to temporarily house homeless people in the city, which is 68 more spots than last year

Health minister to announce measures to fight homelessness in Montreal


 17 January 2019

Quebec Health Minister Danielle McCann is to announce on Thursday a series of measures to combat homelessness in the Montreal region.

McCann is to hold a news conference at the old Royal Victoria Hospital at University St. and Pine Ave.

On Tuesday, a temporary homeless shelter opened in the old building to accommodate those who can’t be taken in by the city’s existing homeless shelters from Jan. 15 to April 15.

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