It took the intervention of the Prime Minister, François Legaultto resolve the impasse over the tram decrees, at the end of a psychodrama initiated by the elected officials of Quebec which should never have taken place. What a fiasco!
Rather than surfing on a rather well-received Quebec budget, for the past two weeks, the Legault government has been entangled in a quarrel over the completely useless tramway with the mayor of Quebec.
Remember that on the very day of the presentation of the budget, The newspaper revealed that the government was opposed to a shared street on René-Lévesque, a scenario favored by the City.
This encroachment on municipal powers not only aroused the ire of the mayor of Quebec, but also of his colleagues in the big cities. The episode took up a lot of space in the public debate, forcing the government to back down.
Then, the Prime Minister began to speak of social acceptability for the tramway, a formula which, without naming it, was certainly referring to a referendum, repeatedly called for by opponents of the project.
Jonatan Julien, Minister of Energy and MP for Charlesbourg, even went so far as to claim that a majority of “50% + 1” was needed. The latter, who previously defended the project as an adviser to Team Labeaume, was not fed up that his government had demanded the withdrawal of the portion of the route in his own riding. It would not behave otherwise if it appeared opposing the project.
Lots of damages
All this to arrive, Wednesday, with unconditional decrees. Certainly, this is excellent news for the project and for Quebec. But such a skid will have caused only a lot of damage.
The government has effectively muddled its relations with Bruno Marchand, in addition to alienating the mayors of large cities who have criticized it for encroaching on municipal jurisdiction.
To hear Geneviève Guilbault, the mayor of Quebec needed the CAQ to know how to carry out his project. As soon as he came to power in the fall, the mayor nevertheless pointed out the need to improve the rate of mobilization behind the tramway, and communication with citizens.
Mr. Marchand has multiplied his efforts to achieve these objectives. He organized a plenary session with elected officials at City Hall, consultations with citizens, many of whom are still to come, publications on social networks and an updated video of the project was presented.
The CAQ ministers obviously believed that they could afford to use outrageous arrogance in the face of a newcomer to politics. We even tried to extract support for the third link, while a great vagueness still surrounds the project.
This blackmail around the third link is not over. Geneviève Guilbault warned Wednesday that “it is certain that the government has not finished its” intervention “in this project” of tramway.
The Minister notably mentioned the costs which remain to be specified, and the other decrees which will have to be granted.
However, it is already known that the costs of the tramway will have increased, as is happening with all projects in Quebec, as time goes by. When I say the battle is not won…