(Quebec) Limited by law to 20 parliamentary assistants, François Legault creates a new title for 22 elected caquistes, “government assistants”, to whom he confers files, but who will not have a salary bonus. He would like to remedy this situation in a parliamentary reform.
The Prime Minister revealed on Friday the identity of the deputies who will form his “government team”. Twenty elected officials are appointed parliamentary assistants, including Youri Chassin – a former member of the Montreal Economic Institute (IEDM), a right-wing think tank – for health, while the CAQ promised during the elections the creation of private hospitals .
Remember that his colleague Pascale Déry, also a former member of the MEI, is Minister of Higher Education and is responsible for the university network.
Parliamentary assistants have, in addition to their base salary, an additional allowance of 20%, equivalent to nearly $20,000. They receive a total compensation of $121,873. These are all deputies from the vintage of 2018 or before who did not have a place in the Council of Ministers.
But the National Assembly Act limits to 20 the number of parliamentary assistants, who assist a minister “in the exercise of his functions”, and who can “answer questions addressed to the minister or take advice on his behalf”.
But the CAQ caucus made up of 90 deputies is very big. The Prime Minister’s Office has therefore found a new way to “put their expertise to the benefit of Quebecers”, by creating a new function, the “government assistants”. They have records, but no check. It is mainly made up of elected officials from the 2022 vintage, but others will lose their bonus, such as Sébastien Schneeberger, who was deputy parliamentary leader of the government, and finds himself government assistant for Transport and sustainable mobility.
“On paper, there are no differences. They have the same responsibilities, the same influence. In our eyes, there is no distinction, ”explained Mr. Legault’s press secretary, Ewan Sauves. Mr. Legault’s objective was to put “all deputies to work”.
The Prime Minister’s Office is well aware of the inequity of treatment between parliamentary assistants and government assistants, and will wish to remedy this in its parliamentary reform project. “It could be part of the discussions,” said Mr. Sauves.
There are only a handful of Caquiste deputies who do not have official functions, including Luc Provençal (Beauce-Nord), former ministers Sylvie D’Amours (Mirabel) and Lucie Lecours (Les Plaines), François Jacques (Mégantic ), Robert Bussière (Gatineau), Vincent Caron (Portneuf), André Bachand (Richmond), Jean-François Simard (Montmorency), Sylvain Lévesque (Chauveau), Chantal Soucy (Saint-Hyacinthe), and Nathalie Roy (Montarville).
Mme Roy should be elected President of the National Assembly. In addition to the president, three vice-presidents form the presidency of the Assembly. Two of them come from the parliamentary group forming the government. These positions would be entrusted to Chantal Soucy and Sylvain Lévesque, according to The Journal of Quebec.
Then there are the award-winning positions of presidents and vice-presidents of parliamentary committees, as well as places in the Bureau of the National Assembly. “Everyone has something,” said Mr. Sauves.