Editorial interview with Bruno Marchand | “Cities need more autonomy”

Unity is strength, according to the mayor of Quebec, Bruno Marchand, who calls on the mayors of the province’s big cities to unite so that their voices are better heard by the government of François Legault on issues such as social housing. , mobility, public transport and environmental protection.

Posted at 5:00 a.m.

Isabelle Ducas

Isabelle Ducas
The Press

“Cities have a role to play, especially large cities, in promoting the needs of citizens and important issues, in guiding budgetary decisions and the priorities of the Government of Quebec, because they are the ones that best know the citizens, ”said Mr. Marchand, who was in Montreal on Wednesday, where he notably met the mayor of the metropolis, Valérie Plante.

Beyond snow removal and garbage collection, cities have acquired more and more power over their social and economic development, since they have to deal with social housing, homelessness, violence and urban planning. , noted the mayor of the capital, in an editorial meeting with The Press.

It doesn’t mean that [les villes] no longer need the Government of Quebec, but they need more autonomy, because they are often the best placed to act.

Bruno Marchand, Mayor of Quebec

And to act more effectively, they have every interest in multiplying the contacts between them, to learn from each other, and to reproduce the best practices at home.

Supports

Last month, while Bruno Marchand was engaged in a standoff with the Legault government over the development of the future tramway, the mayor received the support of the mayoress of Montreal and the Union of Quebec municipalities. (UMQ).

“Cities have the expertise and knowledge of their territory to carry out integrated and exemplary transport projects”, tweeted Mme Plant.

“For all the municipalities of Quebec, the UMQ reminds us of the importance, for the Government of Quebec, of respecting municipal jurisdictions in land use planning,” added the UMQ.

These “courageous” supports were “decisive” for the outcome of the litigation, according to Mr. Marchand.

The government of the Coalition avenir Québec then backed down and decided to finance the tramway project without attaching any requirements to it, despite what it had suggested in the previous days.

Many saw in this episode a gesture of affirmation by the municipal world against the provincial government.

The UMQ and the municipalities of Quebec are currently in the process of saying: “There are things that cities can do, that the government of Quebec will never be able to do.”

Bruno Marchand, Mayor of Quebec

Mr. Marchand asks that we get out of the “logic of the 1950s”, when cities, as “creatures of the government”, could only do what the government wanted them to do.

Third link

On another hot topic in the capital, the road tunnel project under the river between Quebec and Lévis, which will be presented this Thursday by the Legault government, Mayor Marchand has not yet officially pronounced.

Even though he was treated to a premiere presentation on Tuesday, several of his questions are missing answers, he said.

In particular, he asks the government to convince him that the third link will not promote urban sprawl. He also wants to know the environmental impacts of the project, as well as the place that will be given to public transport.

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