Culture By Raquel Fletcher 1953 Views

New speaker of Quebec’s National Assembly promises ‘modern and efficient democracy’

The National Assembly began a two-week mini session by electing its new speaker, François Paradis.

The former TV reporter first became an MNA in 2014. As speaker, he is promising a more “modern, efficient and innovative democracy.”

There was no question period as the 42nd legislature opened Tuesday afternoon. Instead, MNAs first had to elect the person who will keep them in order for the next four years.

Paradis, MNA for Levis, was the only candidate for the position. During his acceptance speech, he thanked his colleagues for giving him this opportunity.

“Confidence is earned,” he said.

Coalition Avenir Québec MNAs Marc Picard (Chutes-de-la-Chaudière) and Chantal Soucy (Saint-Hyacinthe) and Liberal MNA Maryse Gaudreault (Hull) were elected as deputy speakers.

Paradis’ predecessor, Jacques Chagnon, made headlines for dining on lobster at the National Assembly restaurant and ordering expensive wine while on parliamentary missions abroad.

Parties want the new president to spend less.

“One thing for sure is that we need more transparency, and I think Mr. Paradis will go in that way,” CAQ house leader Simon Jolin-Barrette said.

“This culture of luxury, this culture of private club, that when you are the president of the National Assembly, nothing is too expensive for you, that culture has to change,” said Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, Québec Solidaire house leader.

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Opposition parties also have suggestions for the premier. All three opposition parties told media on Tuesday that they want him to focus on the environment.

“You cannot be a head of government in 2018 and not have climate change in your agenda,” said Nadeau-Dubois.

During his swearing-in speech, Quebec Premier François Legault admitted his party didn’t talk enough about the environment during the campaign and promised to change that. On Tuesday, Legault said lowering Quebec’s greenhouse gases will take time.

“What I can tell you is that today, our plan will reach the targets of 2030, but for 2020 I don’t have all the information to answer this question now,” he said.

Legault will make his inaugural address Wednesday afternoon, at which time he will lay out his government’s top priorities.