Legault's top three priorities: health, education and the economy
Quebec premier-designate François Legault said he wants to focus on education, healthcare and the economy as his top priorities but it was immigration and identity issues that came to the forefront again at his first official news conference.
Legault said he would start to reduce immigration numbers to 40,000 a year starting next year but that in the short term, he wanted to improve integration services including learning French.
Legault had promised during the election campaign that he'd cut current immigration levels and have new immigrants pass French and values tests before they can get a selection certificate and apply for permanent residency in Canada.
Legault also repeated his intention to invoke the notwithstanding clause to push through secular dress codes for top ranking public servants.
.@francoislegault acknowledges a lot of people didn't vote for the CAQ but rather against the Liberals and the PQ esp. in Montreal but says he'll try to work with everyone and make everyone "feel included in their projects." #CJAD800 #qcpoli pic.twitter.com/Wf2VZb05nH— Shuyee Lee (@sleeCJAD) October 2, 2018
"I think that the vast majority of Quebecers, they would like to have a framework where we say people in an authority position, they must not wear religious signs. If we have to use the notwithstanding clause to apply what the majority of Quebecers want, we'll do so," said Legault at a news conference in Quebec City.
Legault acknowledged many Quebecers didn't vote for the CAQ but rather against the Liberals and the PQ, but that didn't mean he doesn't have their trust.
"No, not at all. And my challenge is to make sure the people who didn't vote for the CAQ, that they feel included in our projects," said Legault, adding that "he'd try to work" with the voters in Montreal who decided to stick with the Liberals.
Legault said that in the short term, they want to meet with Ottawa about the new USMCA trade deal and the impact on Quebec dairy farmers.
As for the upcoming legalization of recreational marijuana, Legault said they'd roll out their plan in the next couple of weeks to raise the legal age for consumption from 18 to 21 and that there'd "be no vacuum" when it becomes law October 17.
Legault said they want to get to work on renegotiating medical specialists' salaries and put "more money in the pockets of Quebecers."
Legault reiterated their plan to replace CHSLD long-term care residences with smaller, more modern seniors' homes.
Legault said he hopes to have his cabinet in place in the next two weeks and to convene the National Assembly before the Christmas holidays.