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Oppositions respond to François Legault at the UMQ conference

Photo: Jacques Boissinot archives The Canadian Press Marc Tanguay (PLQ) implored the government to “work on solutions” to meet the needs of cities.

Stéphane Blais – The Canadian Press

Published yesterday at 12:47 p.m.

  • Quebec

After Prime Minister François Legault on Thursday, it was the turn of the leaders of the opposition parties to address the mayors of Quebec, gathered in Montreal as part of the conference of the Union of Municipalities of Quebec (UMQ) which end on Friday.

The draw ensured that the interim leader of the Liberal Party (PLQ) was the first to speak in front of municipal elected officials and to answer questions from host Stephan Bureau.

Marc Tanguay quickly returned to the statement of the Prime Minister who, the day before, had said in the same forum “ that there is no more room for maneuver in Quebec than there is in the municipalities”, alluding to different requests from cities, particularly in terms of public transport and housing.

“Sorry, I do not accept that the Prime Minister of Quebec compares his room for maneuver with your room for maneuver, because for us, it is to be completely disconnected,” said the leader of the PLQ, imploring the government to “ work on solutions” to meet the needs of cities.

Among these solutions, Marc Tanguay promised that the PLQ, if elected, will cancel the government's decision Legault to require municipalities since 2020 to give up buildings and land free of charge for the construction or expansion of schools.

“That has no good sense that Quebec decides to shovel this responsibility into your backyard. […] It’s a Quebec jurisdiction,” said Marc Tanguay, to the applause of several municipal elected officials.

The interim leader of the PLQ also indicated that no matter who leads the party in the next elections, if the Liberals win, they will make sure to invest $470 million to help the villages of Quebec provide local services to their citizens , as the Coalition Avenir Québec had promised during the last electoral campaign.

PSPP would like to give more powers to the MRCs< /h2>

During his speech, the leader of the Parti Québécois also took the Prime Minister at his word, who had declared a few weeks ago that it was “easier to go begging in Quebec” than “cleaning up” municipal finances.

For Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, it is rather François Legault the main “seeker”, because he often has to negotiate with Ottawa to obtain money for the municipalities, as is the case with the Income Tax Program. essence and the contribution of Quebec (TECQ) which finances underground infrastructure work in municipalities.

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“It is not a social project to go, mayors and politicians of the National Assembly, to beg again in Ottawa,” declared Paul St-Pierre Plamondon for whom he there is “one government too many.”

“If we send $82 billion of our taxes every year to Ottawa, what are we doing? receives in return ? But above all, what could we do with these 82 billion ? »

The leader of the PQ submitted the proposal that an independent Quebec use part of “this $82 billion” to give more powers to regional county municipalities (MRC), as desired by the founder of the PQ, René Lévesque, “who created the MRCs.”

Paul St-Pierre Plamondon also said he was very concerned about the rise in homelessness in the province.

“We are going to prioritize the right to housing over many other considerations. Moreover, the Parti Québécois is committed to making the right to housing a right in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” promised the leader of the PQ.

GND wants a plurality of means of transport

The co-spokesperson for Québec solidaire, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, for his part accused the CAQ of forming a government “which treats public transportation not as its responsibility, but as an unpleasant expense”.

Addressing the mayors, he declared: “We have a government which roughly tells you that if you want to provide your citizens with good transport services in common, well, you just have to pay your employees and your bus driver less.”

The co-spokesperson for Québec solidaire argued that we must “get away from the logic of either it’s the tank or it’s the metro, because there are a plurality of mobility options.”

He listed light transport, taxi-bus, car sharing, buses, trams, as many means that must be considered for transportation.

“The Quebec government must make it its mission to help municipalities deploy as many of these options as possible throughout the territory. »

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois also reiterated the idea of ​​using the accumulated surplus of $1.7 billion from the Green Fund to finance public transport organizations in common. This proposal provoked several applause in the crowd of municipal elected officials gathered at the Palais des congrès.

More than 1,500 elected officials, municipal managers and partners from all regions of Quebec are participating at the annual meetings of the UMQ.

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