Premier Francois Legault wraps up two day meeting of the CAQ general council with a speech to the party rank and file at Hotel Plaza in Montreal on Sunday May 26, 2019. Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette ORG XMIT: 62578
Dave Sidaway / jpg
Busy day? Here’s what you might have missed. Premier François Legault outlined a sweeping vision for Quebec’s future where oil is not part of the equation. In his closing speech to the Coalition Avenir Québec’s general council, which spent the weekend outlining a greener agenda, the Legault said he wants the province to cut its oil consumption by 40 per cent by 2030. That energy would be replaced by clean electricity. Currently 36 per cent of the energy consumed in Quebec is electric. “Instead of pumping our money into the coffers of oil companies, we will keep it here to create wealth for people here,” Legault said in his speech to 1,300 delegates at a downtown hotel Sunday. “The path I invite all of us to follow is to electrify our economy. That’s the way for more prosperity and a greener economy.” Addressing the province’s growing environmental lobby, which has accused him of not doing enough to save the planet, Legault said: “I want to be perfectly clear — we got the message from our youth. We are going to do more. The skeptics will be proven wrong.”Several hundred women gathered in front of the U.S. consulate in Montreal to denounce restrictive abortion laws recently introduced in that country. Amid posters featuring illustrations of coat hangers and women’s uteruses, one could read “Politicians make sh–ty doctors” and “My body is not a political playground.” Alabama and Georgia recently passed stringent laws that would, once they take effect, outlaw virtually all abortions, and Missouri and Louisiana plan similar bills. “I have trouble understanding why we are still here, re-examining the right to abortion,” said 15-year-old Zeneb Blanchet. For her, she said, it’s strictly a matter of women’s health. “The American situation drives me crazy,” said 18-year-old Romane Dumesnil. “I fear for my rights as a woman, and as someone with a uterus. We have to demonstrate to make it clear that not just anyone should be elected.” Tanya Hage, 29, warned against complacency. “The minute we close our eyes to what is happening elsewhere, it could easily happen here, too,” she said.Quebec politicians insisted an altercation outside the Quebec City mosque was in no way fuelled by the ongoing debate around Bill 21. Police said a dispute erupted in the mosque’s parking lot on Saturday, ending with a punch being thrown and a man arrested for assault. Mosque director Mohammed Labidi told Le Journal de Québec the man in question arrived at the mosque and started insulting people near the entrance. He asked to see worshippers’ passports and told them they’re not at home in Quebec, Labidi told the publication. While condemning “all forms of violence,” Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette also denied there was any connection between the incident and Bill 21. “It is clearly unacceptable,” François Legault said after a meeting of the CAQ’s general council, “but we should not link it to Bill 21.” The premier repeated that in his view Bill 21 is balanced and reasonable and in fact will fight racism, because it will create clear guidelines indicating minorities can wear religious symbols on the street even if the bill will ban symbols on the job for figures of authority.With files from Presse Canadienne.