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Companies will “indirectly” finance Hydro-Québec’s major projects

Photo: Karoline Boucher The Canadian Press On the business side, “we have to think that prices must follow” so as not to increase the deficit.

Companies based in Quebec will finance the energy transition through an increase in electricity rates, Prime Minister François Legault said on Friday, taking stock of a parliamentary session conducted under the sign of discipline.

Seeing an “economic boom” coming with Hydro-Québec projects, the head of government intends to call on businesses to contribute more financially.

“The explosion of investments » from companies “waiting for electricity” will make it possible to “relaunch major projects at Hydro-Québec”, welcomed Mr. Legault. “And it’s going to be paid for, financed indirectly by businesses. »

He later recalled that businesses pay “in Quebec among the lowest rates in North America.” Given the explosion in costs and the arrival of new works, “we must think that prices must follow,” he stressed. “Otherwise, we would increase the Quebec government’s deficit by reducing Hydro-Québec’s profits. »

Mr. Legault, on the other hand, declared that he did not intend to let an increase in residential rates go by which would exceed 3%, “even after” the 2026 electoral campaign. Hydro-Québec's action plan, staggered until in 2035, expect such increases. The reform presented Thursday by the Minister of Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, however, aims to give the Energy Authority the power to adjust prices from 2026 to reduce electricity consumption during peak periods.

From controversies to discipline

At this time last year, the leader of the Coalition avenir Québec marked a climax to a turbulent parliamentary session, announcing the leap that the Parti Québécois would make in the fall, to slip into first place in polls on Quebecers’ voting intentions. In December, Mr. Legault said he hoped that 2024 would be “one of the best” years of his government.

To cut short a difficult start to the session, marked by controversies surrounding the CAQ’s fundraising cocktails, the premier imposed a media cure on himself. In the corridors of the National Assembly, he multiplied “have a nice day everyone” and, more often than not, displayed a “disciplined” smile in response to journalists’ questions. Result: “I think we still managed to focus on more of our priorities,” he congratulated himself on Friday. “I have certainly avoided distractions on secondary subjects to focus on our priorities and I think that is what I must do,” he also said.

Immigration mission

The CAQ leader also tried to make Quebecers aware of the “urgency to act” to curb the arrival of temporary immigrants in Quebec. He is also scheduled to meet Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday to discuss immigration.

This is a step in a “continuous process” whose purpose could — “perhaps” — take the form of support for a party during the next federal election, Mr. Legault further warned. “I think it’s consensual in Quebec: encroachments by the federal government no longer make sense. “It no longer makes sense, the number of temporary immigrants that Mr. Trudeau has accepted,” he said. What will happen if he leaves his meeting with his counterpart on Monday dissatisfied ? “I invite you to ask me this question again on Monday evening,” replied Mr. Legault. At the same time, he announced on Friday the establishment of a committee to increase Quebec's autonomy within Canada.

In view of the fall and during Rumors of a reshuffle are already floating around, the Prime Minister said he was “satisfied with the team” he has. He himself intends to run for a third “majority” mandate in 2026. “I’m in great shape,” he replied to the Liberal leader, Marc Tanguay, who criticized him for “looking tired.”

With François Carabin

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116