AuthorAube, Marie-Christine
PositionLegislative Reports

Parliamentary Proceedings


On January 21, 2021, Eric Caire, Member for La Peltrie, was appointed Minister Responsible for Access to Information and the Protection of Personal Information, replacing Simon Jolin-Barrette, Member for Borduas, who retained his duties as Minister of Justice, Minister Responsible for Laicity and Parliamentary Reform and Minister Responsible for the French Language. Mr. Caire also retained his duties as Minister for Government Digital Transformation.

On February 24, 2021, Benoit Charette, Member for Deux-Montagnes, was appointed Minister Responsible for the Fight Against Racism, with the duties being added to his usual duties as Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change. This is a newly created office. In addition, Lucie Lecours, Member for Les Plaines, was appointed Minister for the Economy.

Since March 30, 2021, Louis-Charles Thouin, Member for Rousseau, has been sitting as an independent Member. Consequently, the National Assembly is now composed of 74 Coalition avenir Quebec Members, 28 Quebec Liberal Party Members, 10 Quebec solidaire Members, eight Parti Quebecois Members and five independent Members.

Terms for the continuation of Assembly proceedings

On February 2, 2021, the parliamentarians carried a motion regarding regular sittings of the National Assembly and the parliamentary committees between February 2 and 19, 2021. On March 9, 2021, the parliamentarians adopted a motion on the same matter, effective from March 8 to April 21, 2021. Essentially, the motions renewed the measures that had been adopted at the beginning of the sessional period on September 15, 2020 and were designed to ensure the safety of all during the pandemic.

The Assembly thus sat with a reduced number of Members. A total of 36 parliamentarians, excluding the Chair, were present in the Chamber, according to the following distribution:

* No more than 20 Members from the parliamentary group forming the Government;

* No more than eight Members from the parliamentary group forming the Official Opposition;

* No more than three Members from the Second Opposition Group;

* No more than three Members from the Third Opposition Group;

* No more than two independent Members.

The above distribution was modified to allow more Members in opposition to be present in the Chamber during Routine Proceedings. The number of government Members was reduced to 16 to allow for two additional Members from the parliamentary group forming the Official Opposition, which subsequently totalled 10, and one additional Member from each of the Second and Third Opposition Groups, for a total of four Members from each group. Furthermore, a Member of the Second Opposition Group could fill in for an absent independent Member. In the event that a third independent Member wished to participate in Routine Proceedings, the Government would yield one of its seats.

Parliamentarians were allowed to take the floor and vote from seats that were not the ones usually assigned to them.

The previously adopted procedure for recorded divisions was maintained. Under that measure, the vote of the House Leader or of the Deputy House Leader of a parliamentary group, or where applicable, of another Member identified beforehand, was valid for all Members of his or her group. However, a parliamentarian was entitled to individually record a vote that differed from the vote of his or her group or to choose not to vote. In addition, if an independent Member was absent, the Government House Leader was authorized to record the Member's vote regarding a stage in the consideration of a bill according to the instructions that the absent Member had transmitted to the Government House Leader.

An additional measure, initially put in place through a motion carried on October 20, was renewed. It consists in dividing the ministers into two groups for Oral Questions and Answers such that one group participates during Tuesday and Thursday sittings, and the other during Wednesday sittings and also Friday sittings during periods of extended hours of meeting.

New measures were added through a motion carried on February 2, 2021. Procedure masks were to be worn at all times during sittings of the Assembly and parliamentary committees, except by those in attendance via videoconference and by those taking the floor during proceedings.

To ensure quorum for Tuesday morning sittings, the parliamentary groups agreed to have at least seven Members of the parliamentary group forming the Government, three Members of the parliamentary group forming the Official Opposition, one Member of the Second Opposition Group and one Member of the Third Opposition Group present in the National Assembly Chamber.

The Assembly proceedings schedule was changed to...

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