The “Boys Club” of François Legault

Le «Boys Club» de François Legault

If you scratch a little of the varnish of its commitment to parity between men and women, it appears that the prime minister François Legault is leading a government like a “Boys Club”, according to a survey conducted by The canadian Press.

Even if he has respected his promise to compose a council of ministers formed of equal parts women and men, it remains that since 1 October the prime minister, Legault has preferred, as a general rule, to entrust the decision-making positions to men rather than women, whether it be his bodyguard, heads of firms, officers of parliament and even of the key positions of the senior civil service.

The rhetoric of joint caquiste stopped at the doors of the cabinets. The government counts a total of 28 firms: that of the prime minister, 26 ministers, and the chief whip. In total, there are twice more men than women at the controls of the firms, 19 men (68 %) for 9 women (32 %).

In positions of a political nature, the directors of the firm have been selected personally by Mr. Legault or its immediate surroundings. The chief of staff plays a key role of first adviser to the minister, and ensures a close link between the senior officials and the office of the prime minister.

In his own practice, Mr. Legault has given the key positions, decision-making, to three men of confidence promoted director of cabinet, director of communications and director of media relations.

Since taking office, one of the first decisions taken by the prime minister was to find a secretary general of the government, responsible for overseeing the entire public service and make the link between the political and the administrative. Again, he has chosen a man, Yves Ouellet, in this position the nerve, with an annual salary of nearly 315 000 $.


Since he is at the controls, Mr. Legault has made 21 appointments in the senior public service of quebec: of the total, seven went to women (33 %), and 14, twice, to men (66 %).

The post the most strategic and the best paid of the public administration have been reserved for gentlemen: deputy minister of Finance (Pierre Côté: annual salary $ 243 653 $), the secretary of the Treasury (Eric Ducharme: salary 244 471 $), and deputy minister of the Economy (David Bahan: salary 209 623 $). Note that these three great mandarins of the State and report directly to the three ministers forming the powerful “trio” economic, exclusively male, formed by Mr. Legault, who describes himself as a “prime minister” economic: Éric Girard (Finance), Christian Dubé (Treasury) and Peter Fitzgibbon (Economy).

The few women who have been the subject in recent weeks of a nomination in the category of the jobs above have to be satisfied with an income more modest, ranging between 137 841 $ (Elizabeth Rody, assistant deputy minister for international Relations), and 194 428 $ (Jenna Bellefeuille, associate secretary general to the legislation to the executive Council).

Among the important issues covered senior officials of the executive Council (the ministry of the prime minister), please note that the “priorities and strategic projects,” as well as “government communication” will be between male hands, those of Carl Lessard and Michel Léveillé, but that the “job superiors” will be the subject of a woman, Line Bérubé.

Joust parliamentary

For a government, the control of the game in parliament is fundamental to carry out his projects of law and look good during the question period. Under the leadership of Mr. Legault, the management of parliamentary business, there will be nothing to joint: Simon Jolin-Barrette held the prestigious position of house leader, Eric Lefebvre, chief whip, and Mario Laframboise, president of the caucus. Furthermore, everything indicates that the next president of the national Assembly, the prestigious, high-profile, will be the member of parliament for Lévis, François Paradis, the only candidate in the running.

Number two

The fact that there are now as many women as men around the table of the council of ministers, may give the impression that equality is gained. But what will be the real influence of these women on the governing of the State?

Some, for example, made much of the appointment of Geneviève Guilbault, a young member of parliament for Louis-Hébert, promoted to vice-premier, led the consecration of his status as “number two” and “strong woman” of the government Legault. However, contrary to what one might believe, it is essentially a purely symbolic and honorific, with no real powers. In fact, the deputy prime minister will be called to replace the prime minister on the occasion in the Room or at events and to deliver its message to him.

In our political system, the number two in the government is the one who controls the portfolio: the minister of Finance.

The other person of confidence of the prime minister is no doubt that Simon Jolin-Barrette. In addition to managing all parliamentary activity of the government, he will have to drive two records among the most sensitive: the lower thresholds of immigration, by requiring, in parallel, tests of French and values to newcomers, not to mention the delicate question of the prohibition for certain State employees to wear religious signs.