To govern is to think about tomorrow. To please is to think about now and the next election.
This afternoon, the Minister of Finance, Éric Girard, will take stock of Quebec’s economic and financial situation. We already know, and this is normal in the context, the CAQ will find itself in a very different situation from the one it inherited.
For the government, the economic update will be an opportunity to make public the complexity of the work it will have to accomplish, but also to share the first signs of the type of economic recovery that will be favored.
The time for choices has come
During the first part of its mandate, the CAQ often compared its reinvestments to those made (or not) by its predecessors. Starting a term of office in the red or the green makes all the difference, because no elected government wants to announce budgetary restraint.
For the first time since its election, the CAQ will no longer have the opportunity to respond positively to all the requests expressed. Much more than a simple communication exercise, updating is a pivotal stage in the life of this government.
Erosion of political capital
The CAQ succeeded in rallying a majority of Quebeckers behind its projects, despite some protests that were foreseeable. From the start of her mandate, she relied on popular initiatives and identity to establish her popularity.
In Quebec, many know that Premier Legault’s primary goal was never to base his government’s action on identity. It was a way to seek the buy-in necessary to achieve its real priorities: to develop the economy and create a world-class education system.
The maneuver has worked so well that the political capital he has accumulated among the population could enable him to cross this new stage.
The key to success
The Caquista obsession has always been to differentiate itself from its predecessors. Every government is doing it, and this is nothing new.
His challenge will be to maintain the cohesion of his coalition following the choices that will be made. What we prioritize and the way we do it are important signals about the philosophy that guides a political formation.
In addition to the pandemic, the vision for employment, economic recovery, the environment, the quality of services and the management of public finances will be at the heart of the elements that will have to be monitored carefully.
The electorate often seems, and sometimes rightly, more interested in the immediate issues than those that will arise in the future. The results of the last two federal elections have shown that it is possible to justify a deficit if the public considers that there is a lasting gain to be obtained.
The ministerial team has the opportunity to show off their managerial skills before the next election and as you know, the best dancers are only recognized at the end of the evening.