Phillipe Couillard persuades deputy premier not to step down

Phillipe Couillard persuades deputy premier not to step down

The Quebec government's second-in-command, Lise Thériault, handed her letter of resignation to the premier at the end of January, but Philippe Couillard refused to accept it, CBC/Radio-Canada has learned.

The deputy premier perceived tensions between herself and Economic Development Minister Dominique Anglade and was experiencing a period of melancholy, according to a portrait of events based on two sources.

The sources say that Thériault believed a rivalry had developed with Anglade on economic matters, although Anglade reportedly sensed no such conflict. Thériault is the minister for small and medium-sized businesses and regional economic development.

Thériault, the MNA for the Montreal riding of Anjou-Louis-Riel, met with the premier sometime during the week of Jan. 30 — a politically fraught time for the premier, coming in the same week as the mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque.

A no-show at least twice

The premier managed to dissuade Thériault. Nonetheless, the deputy premier later refused to participate in at least two public appearances.

She was notably absent from a Jan. 27 news conference about a program for small and medium-sized businesses — which falls directly under her area of ministerial responsibility.

Instead, a Liberal backbencher, André Fortin, announced the new Revenu Québec program, alongside the head of the agency and the national spokesperson for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

Fortin is the parliamentary secretary for Finance Minister Carlos Leitao.

Thériault also refused to participate in a Feb. 21 news conference on an action plan to maintain home offices in Quebec. The premier, Anglade and Leitao took part.

Future in politics unknown

Thériault, an MNA for 15 years, has not yet decided whether she will run again in the 2018 election, according to CBC's information.

She is currently on a mission in Japan to speak about Quebec's model of integrating women in the workplace, in her role as minister responsible for the status of women.