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Quebec tramway | Prime Minister Legault has decided

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(Quebec) It was François Legault who put an end to the debate and authorized the decree allowing the City of Quebec to go ahead with its tramway project, without any conditions. It is now turning to the third Quebec-Lévis link, a less expensive version of which will be announced in the coming days.

“I try to operate by consensus. Sometimes, it happens to me to bend, even if I am less in agreement, with the majority. But at the end of the day, it is my responsibility as Prime Minister to decide, ”said Prime Minister François Legault Thursday on the sidelines of a press conference in Sainte-Claire, on the South Shore of Quebec, where he announced a bus electrification project.

Mr. Legault has been questioned many times about the decline of the CAQ, which until recently wanted to impose conditions on the city of Quebec in exchange for funding, in particular the abandonment of a shared street. The decrees do not, however, contain any conditions. Is this a step back? “Social acceptability is a condition that goes without saying. We included it in the press release yesterday, ”retorted Mr. Legault.

The Prime Minister seemed much happier talking about his project for a third link between Quebec and Lévis. He also warmed up the room where several hundred workers were gathered, promising that “the third link is coming”. An announcement of a cheaper version – the 2021 announcement had a budget of 10 billion – is due “in a few days”. “Yes, we’re going to have a tunnel, I guarantee you that,” he said, provoking applause from the crowd.

He still believes that unlike the tunnel or his REM de l’Est project in Montreal, the tramway raises problems of social acceptability. “There are some who make the link, why don’t you put some in the REM de l’Est project? There are people who don’t like the route, but the vast majority of people in Montreal agree with the REM de l’Est,” he said.

“Trams, we want them everywhere”

Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon for his part seemed very happy with the outcome. It was he who spilled the beans by saying earlier in the day that “the Prime Minister has decided”.

Mr. Fitzgibbon is himself a proponent of public transit. “Trams, we want them everywhere. […] We are going to have the tram, everyone is happy. I have always said that I was for public transport, it is part of our program to decarbonize Quebec, ”he told the parliamentary press.

The day before, the Council of Ministers signed a regulatory document which authorizes the city of Quebec to launch calls for proposals for the supply of rolling stock and the construction of the infrastructure of the tramway network, a project of nearly 4 billion. But surprise, this document did not contain any conditions, contrary to what three ministers of the Capitale-Nationale region demanded two weeks earlier.

A statement by Minister Éric Caire had also set fire to the powder: “The mayor of Quebec says that he does not want to wage a war on the automobile, when he proves it and that he stops polluting the existence of drivers with projects like that, ”he said before retracting. This outing took place at a time when Éric Caire’s Conservative Party of Quebec — which is campaigning against the tramway — is gaining popularity in the region. On Tuesday, the Minister of Energy and MP for Charlesbourg, Jonatan Julien, asked that a majority of citizens, “50% +1”, support the project.

Pierre Fitzgibbon acknowledged that people in the caucus “have their opinion”, but he points out that a decision has been made and that “at some point, we rally”.

Victoire

For their part, the opposition parties claim victory. Québec solidaire co-spokesperson Manon Massé was delighted with the green light for the tramway. “Yesterday, we witnessed a victory for citizen mobilization on the question of the tramway in Quebec, a victory for people who think that it is really time for Quebec City to enter the 21and century and have transport like the tram on its territory,” she said. “I hope it was the last time that the CAQ deputies put the spokes in the wheels of this project,” she said.

Liberal MP Monsef Derraji considers this a “victory for the people of Quebec”. It is also “a failure” for the CAQ. “The government looks crazy, really, the government looks absolutely crazy,” he said.

PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, for his part, underlines the political “victory” of Quebec City Mayor Bruno Marchand. However, he is “cautious”. “I find it difficult to see how one day we can demand things on the route, the configuration of the street, demand a referendum, then all of a sudden, we rally. I will celebrate when, really, there will be confirmations of the groundbreaking and the start of the work,” he said.

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