Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press Prime Minister François Legault did not rule out Tuesday reopening the door to a third road link between the two shores in the Quebec region.
Isabelle Porter and Marie-Michèle Sioui in Quebec
Shaken by his defeat in the Jean-Talon by-election, Prime Minister François Legault did not rule out Tuesday reopening the door to a third road link between the two shores in the Quebec region.
In front of journalists, the Prime Minister said that he “wanted to consult” the population without specifying how he would go about it. “The ball is in the citizens’ court,” he said.
“It’s clear that this decision hurt us a lot,” he said of his government’s decision to abandon the highway portion of the project last April. “There are several people in the greater Quebec City region who felt that we were not respecting our promise regarding this third link,” he also said.
Mr. Legault’s statement surprised elected officials, first and foremost the Minister of the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon. “I didn’t hear that one,” he said after his eyes widened. The minister was in caucus when Mr. Legault made his statement on the third link project.
Manon Massé, from Québec solidaire, burst out laughing when she was informed of the Prime Minister's statement. “He just lost an election, he comes back with the third link? We ask ourselves questions,” she said. The only party that proposed a third link, the Conservative Party of Quebec, came fifth in Jean-Talon, also recalled his colleague Sol Zanetti.
PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, whose candidate Pascal Paradis won the partial election, also gave journalists an incredulous look. ” That surprises me. I will read his statements [to the Prime Minister] and I will get back to you,” he said.
The CAQ defeat in Jean-Talon occurs in the tense context of negotiations with the sector audience. “I have always said that everything has the possibility of infiltrating the negotiating tables,” said the President of the Treasury Board, Sonia LeBel, on this subject.
Her colleague at Transport, Geneviève Guilbault , declared that we should not “fall into the trap of disconnecting from real people” and “consult people from real life.”
The Legault government had made the decision to abandon the third highway link in the spring, on the basis of studies, one of which ultimately contradicted its conclusions. The CAQ had previously spent years promising that the tunnel would happen at all costs.
With 44% of the votes, the PQ received twice as many votes as the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) (21 .46%) during the partial on Monday evening.