(Quebec) To go ahead with the tramway project, the mayor of Quebec will have to obtain the support of a “majority” of citizens, announces the Legault government. Funding for the public transit project will be conditional on its “social acceptability”.
Posted at 4:22 p.m.
“Minimally, it’s 50% +1. It is at least a majority of citizens, ”said the Minister of Energy and MP for Charlesbourg, Jonatan Julien, in a scrum on Tuesday.
The Legault government has thus confirmed that it will set a condition for the decree that it must publish on Wednesday and which will allow the city of Quebec to go ahead with the calls for proposals for the supply of rolling stock, and the construction network infrastructure.
Two weeks ago, a first conflict broke out between the mayor of Quebec Bruno Marchand and the CAQ government, which asked the city to abandon a 500-meter section of shared street on René-Lévesque Boulevard, in the heart of the city, to obtain the decree. Transport Minister François Bonnardel stressed that his government is the main funder of the nearly 4 billion project, and that it could intervene even if it was a municipal competence.
“The shared street concept worries me a lot. The regional vision, the mayor of the City of Quebec seems to have forgotten it”, he said. But it was above all a declaration by his fellow Minister Éric Caire that caught the eye: “the mayor of Quebec says that he does not want to wage a war on the automobile, whereas he proves it and that he stop polluting the existence of drivers with projects like that, ”he said before retracting.
On Tuesday, Mr. Legault seemed to drop this requirement: “the development and then the detail of the Quebec tramway is the responsibility of the city of Quebec,” said the Prime Minister. However, he added that the responsibility of the elected Caquistes of Quebec is “to listen to the citizens”. “We are going to ask the mayor of Quebec […] to ensure that there is social acceptability that is respected. Can anyone be against that, ensuring that such an important project of the city of Quebec is supported by the population? “, he said.
Mr. Julien and Mr. Legault, however, did not wish to say how Mayor Bruno Marchand had to demonstrate that he had the support of 50% +1 of his citizens. “It will be up to the mayor of Quebec to decide how he does that. […] I think there are many ways to ensure there is support,” he added.
For the opposition parties, this is another demonstration that the government is not interested in the environment. “Does he want to impose a referendum on a question like this when he does not do it anywhere in Quebec? I suspect the government that it is to want to use a delaying measure so as not to have to manage this in the election campaign, ”denounced the PQ Pascal Bérubé.
Liberal leader Dominique Anglade recalls for her part that “the citizens of Quebec voted 70%, they voted for candidates for mayor who were in favor of the tramway”. “The message is very clear from the people of Quebec,” she said.
The parliamentary leader of Québec solidaire Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois added: “People want a tramway. The business community wants it. Environmental groups want. At some point, what is missing for François Legault to consider that social acceptability is acquired? “, he denounced.