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On the third link, “mind your own business,” Blanchet tells federal leaders

Photo: Spencer Colby The Canadian Press Yves-François Blanchet denounces comments that he considers “very aggressive” and the lack of “respect” for the National Assembly and the City of Quebec from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his minister Jean-Yves Duclos and the Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre.

Michel Saba – The Canadian Press in Ottawa

Posted at 6:55 a.m.

  • Canada

Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet regrets his past comments on a proposed third road link between Quebec City and Lévis and is calling on federal leaders, including himself, to refrain from encroaching on provincial jurisdictions.

“Mind your own business,” he said on the phone Thursday evening, in an interview with The Canadian Press, after denouncing what he considered to be “very aggressive” comments and the lack of “respect” for the National Assembly and Quebec City by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his minister Jean-Yves Duclos and Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre.

The Conservative leader announced, in an outing earlier in the day, that a federal government he would lead would not invest “not a penny” in a tramway project, but that he would contribute to a third road link project. The Liberals reiterated that they would do precisely the opposite.

However, the Prime Minister of Quebec, François Legault, wants both. He announced a few hours later that he was relaunching the third road link project. It would be a bridge. He also indicated support for the first phase of the tramway deployment as developed by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ).

Although the report of the CDPQ considers that traffic does not justify the third road link project, Mr. Legault invoked “economic security reasons” raised by “stakeholders” to override the opinion of experts and fulfill this electoral promise initially torpedoed there. a year ago.

Also read

  • Legault relaunches a third Quebec-Lévis highway link, just in case
  • No funding for a third car-free link, says Pierre Poilievre
  • Editorial | Along a bridge
  • The government says yes to the tramway on land in Quebec City, but not under the river

In an open letter published Friday, Mr. Blanchet protests that Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Poilievre intervened in the debate on mobility in Quebec City when it is “none of their business” and that they refuse to bow to “the legitimate choice that belongs only to the governments of Quebec and Quebec City.”

In the case of projects studied for years and whose scenarios have been looked at from every angle, the federal government of the moment, he specifies in an interview, does not have the right to distribute funds according to its priorities. .

Do as I say, not as I do ?

M. Should Blanchet review his methods before giving lessons, when he declared during the previous electoral campaign to be in favor of a third road link and still reiterates to this day that he is in favor of a tram project ?

“I was actually kind of not minding my own business,” he concedes. This was, according to him, due to “the naivety of my youth as party leader because the media put unbearable pressure at the time to make me take a position.”

< p>It is now clear in his mind that it is necessary for the Bloc to “resign itself to what its role is” in a context where “attacks” are increasing.

Pierre Poilievre, declared the Bloc leader, is “as centralist” and does “as much interference” in provincial jurisdiction as Justin Trudeau. He especially notes that Mr. Poilievre took “an enormous, enormous risk” by having demonstrated “no respect for what the population of Quebec wants or does not want.”

< h2 class="h2-intertitre">The price argument

Yves-François Blanchet does not digest the “demagogue” nature of the conservative leader’s assertions when he presents the cost of the 28 km tram network project combined with the tunnel to the South Shore as being the equivalent of “28,000 $ to each family in the greater Quebec region.”

“If that is not wise, that means that the Montreal metro is not wise, or the Paris metro. Large cities with significant densification need public transport equipment,” he summarizes.

In fact, claims Mr. Poilievre, it is a question of “more taxes for a project people don’t want.” The Conservative leader, in passing, denounced the “car war” with which the Liberal government and the Bloc are “obsessed,” which “ignore” people in the suburbs and regions.

“In the “obsessed” category, I’m an amateur; Pierre Poilievre is a professional, dismisses Mr. Blanchet straight away. I want people who have to travel from point A to point B to work, study, have fun, visit Quebec as tourists, to have access to a transportation system that is efficient and coherent. »

The Bloc leader also believes that the less expensive alternative solution proposed by the federal government consisting of lowering the deck of the Quebec Bridge, which Ottawa has just purchased , so as to allow the passage of heavy goods vehicles is “a patent” which is “dangerously improvised”.

The complete plan of the CDPQ

The plan unveiled Wednesday by the CDPQ recommends a tram project, a rapid bus system (BRT) and reserved lanes to improve mobility.

The Caisse also suggests building a tunnel under the river dedicated solely to the tramway, but Prime Minister Legault did not go as far as agreeing to carry out this phase on Thursday.

The tram network would cost 7 billion and the bill for the tunnel tram would be 4 billion, in today's dollars. It would take around 4.5 billion for reserved lanes and BRT. Thus, the total bill for the project would be at least $15.5 billion.

Originally, Ottawa had committed to financing 40% of the costs of the tram project. However, that was before the bill exploded.

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