(October 29/18) Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader François Legault was sworn in as Quebec’s 42nd premier on Oct. 17 and unveiled a gender-balanced, 26-member cabinet, including several entrepreneurs and many newcomers to the political arena.

As a former businessman himself, the new premier and his cabinet are well positioned to put their majority government to work supporting the province’s business community.

His party took the reins from the Liberals after securing 74 of the 125 seats in Quebec’s National Assembly during the province’s general election on Oct. 1. This was the first time in 50 years that Quebecers delivered victory to a party other than the Quebec Liberal Party or Parti Québécois.

RELATED: Click here for a recap of the Quebec election results and initial commentary on what the change from business as usual means for the province’s foodservice sector.

Below are the new cabinet ministers with positions of particular interest to the foodservice community (click here to learn more about each of the 26 cabinet members):

• Geneviève Guilbault — Deputy-Premier and Minister of Public Security

• Éric Girard — Minister of Finance

• Pierre Fitzgibbon — Minister of Economy and Innovation

• André Lamontagne — Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

• Simon Jolin-Barrette — Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion

• Jean Boulet — Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity

Restaurants Canada looks forward to working with all members of Quebec’s National Assembly, from all parties, on making progress that will support the continued success of the province’s foodservice sector.

We are ready to get down to work with the new government on a number of key issues, including:

Labour shortages — This is the biggest challenge for Quebec’s restaurateurs and other foodservice operators. Restaurants Canada looks forward to resuming the conversation around ways the government can help through immigration, tax incentives and other solutions.

Taxes, fees and over-regulation — The government still has many moves it can make to ensure Quebec’s business climate is more competitive with neighbouring provinces. WIth the economy in good health, now is an opportune time to make conditions more favourable for foodservice businesses so they can continue to contribute to the prosperity of their communities.

Liquor laws — Restaurants Canada will call for the immediate tabling of regulations that have not yet rolled out under Bill 170, which includes a series of reforms to modernize the province’s liquor laws, such as allowing restaurant patrons to legally drink alcohol without ordering a meal. Some of the rule changes tied to this legislation have already come into effect since it was passed unanimously by the National Assembly on June 12 (for example, dépanneurs can now sell alcohol earlier in the day). But restaurants are still suffering under legal uncertainty as they impatiently await the rest of the regulations. (Click here to read more about all the liquor law changes promised under Bill 170.)

Local food and culinary tourism — Restaurants Canada looks forward to resuming work with the provincial government on strengthening ties between Quebec’s food processors, suppliers and foodservice businesses, and facilitating their relations with counterparts across the country.

Restaurants Canada has already been talking with members of the new government and will be setting up meetings with cabinet ministers shortly.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to get in touch with David Lefebvre, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Federal and Quebec, at DLefebvre@restaurantscanada.org.

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