Debate on the environment in Camille-Laurin
Six candidates from the riding of Camille-Laurin took part in a debate centered on the environment, in the basement of the Saint-François d’Assise church, on September 20, in front of an assembly of nearly 150 people.
Two candidates were absent from this debate organized by the Collectif en environnement Mercier-Est (CEM-E): Richard Campeau, the incumbent deputy for Camille-Laurin and candidate for the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ), as well as Christos Karteris, of the Parti Conservative of Quebec (PCQ).
The issue of public transit was obviously addressed since the Tétreaultville district was in the limelight in the file of the REM de l’Est. The other questions – sent to candidates in advance – focused on the recovery of the East, industrial development, road infrastructure and built heritage.
Greener economic development and decontamination of the land were the two axes addressed by the candidates present in connection with the revival of the East.
Liberal candidate Christina Eyangos began by mentioning her party’s ECO project, a « marriage » between economy and ecology, she explained. « We want to promote companies that have environmental and ecological missions, » she said.
Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, of the Parti Québécois (PQ), emphasized a transition to a new « green and fair » economy, proposing to respect Quebec’s international commitments on greenhouse gases (GHGs) and to create a strategic ecological pole in the East. Regarding decontamination, the leader of the PQ criticized Richard Campeau for having followed the “empty chair policy” instead of intervening to speed up the process.
Marie-Eve Rancourt, of Québec solidaire (QS), maintained that the arrival of warehouses of multinationals such as Amazon and Costco in the East of Montreal « will generate trucking in the riding », which goes to the against QS’s desire to prioritize companies contributing to the achievement of their objectives in the fight against climate change, creating quality jobs and promoting the circular economy. The party also wants to put a land reserve on certain lands, including that of Esso, in order to guide their development.
Jean-Paul Émond, of Climat Québec, for his part deplored that the new facilities of the pharmaceutical company Moderna have been established in Laval, disappointed that the East was not chosen since the land there is contaminated and that « it would take two to three years to decontaminate them before setting up the plant”.
For Bourama Keita, of the Green Party of Quebec (PVQ), the two priorities are to invest in decontamination and in projects such as industrial eco-parks. « East of Montreal will be revitalized, these are not empty words, » said the candidate.
Charles McNicoll of the Autonomist Team argued that decisions about development in the East should be based on science. « We will continue to pollute, but it still takes a certain threshold which will be determined by science and experts, » he said, adding that we must preserve the quality of life in residential neighborhoods.
Specifically concerning the Ray-Mont Logistiques file, all the candidates present agreed to subject this project to a Bureau of Public Hearings on the Environment (BAPE).
Paul St-Pierre Plamondon took the opportunity to talk about Quebec’s independence, recalling that the Port of Montreal and Canadian National (CN) are both under federal jurisdiction. « If Western Canada wants to increase its export capacity, it’s not in my interest and it’s not in Quebec’s interest, » he said.
Christina Eyangos was not shy on her side to severely criticize the CAQ government in its management of the Ray-Mont Logistiques file, calling it “pocket”, an intervention that made the assembly laugh. « Our deputy and our minister responsible for Montreal have no leadership, » she said. She recalled that if companies have rights, they also have responsibilities towards the living environment where they settle.
Marie-Eve Rancourt mentioned that the Assomption Sud–Longue-Pointe file is particularly close to her heart, as she lives nearby. She also mentioned the work that the outgoing member of QS in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Alexandre Leduc, has done in the file.
Charles McNicoll sided with his political adversaries, saying he was in favor of a BAPE and pledging that the law on the quality of the environment would be amended. However, he added that you cannot please everyone.
Jean-Paul Émond listed from the outset the environmental achievements of his leader Martine Ouellet, including the closure of the Gentilly-2 nuclear power plant when she was Minister of Natural Resources. He also recalled that the government has the power to follow or not the recommendations of a BAPE and that this way of doing things had to change.
Bourama Keita indicated for his part that the environmental criteria of the PVQ are very high and that with this party in power, economic development will be centered on green growth.
Asked about their orientations for the development of public transport in the East, each candidate expressed their preferences. The candidates from Climat Québec and the PVQ agreed on one thing: that public transport be free, which, according to them, would make it possible to reduce the attractiveness of the car.
If QS is committed to reducing fares by 50%, Marie-Eve Rancourt has put forward the party’s ambitious project to add, among other things, a purple line to the Montreal metro, to extend the orange and green lines, as well as than to create several tram lines.
Paul St-Pierre Plamondon is sorry for his part that the Quebec government has wasted four years « to put money in things that have been useless », referring here to the REM project of the East of CDPQ Infra. However, he says he is interested in the improved version of the REM proposed by Christian Yaccarini and Christian Savard, which brings back the idea of a section going to the city center. The leader of the PQ added on the other hand « that we do not need to consult much at this stage to exclude the air mode ».
Avoiding speaking out for a specific project,* Christina Eyangos maintained that the East deserves a public transport project. She explained that simply traveling within the constituency is difficult. The Liberal also indicated that the SRB Pie-IX and the extension of the blue line are a legacy of the PLQ.
Charles McNicoll also said he was against the air mode, but affirmed in the same breath that there must be a fair balance between development and the ability of taxpayers to pay. He also indicated that the Autonomist Team wishes to extend the blue line to Pointe-aux-Trembles.
If Bourama Keita did not specify the type of transport desired by his party, he said he was in favor of its development in the east. Jean-Paul Émond, he said he wanted the metro to be extended to Rivière-des-Prairies–Pointe-aux-Trembles in order to allow citizens to get to the city center quickly.
To this question, several candidates did not hesitate to criticize the attitude of the Ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ) in its management of the repair of the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine bridge-tunnel and the resulting obstacles in Mercier- East.
“The population south of the railway line is being held hostage in their own neighborhood,” said Marie-Eve Rancourt, asking that the Honoré-Beaugrand/Souligny intersection finally be reopened northbound. “We prioritize people from the suburbs to the detriment of people from Mercier-Est, and that is unacceptable,” she added.
Christina Eyangos recalled the many interventions by citizens at the MHM borough council about the “crumpled work of the MTQ and elected officials in the Montreal region who do anything”. It is not up to citizens to distinguish between work that is the responsibility of Quebec or Montreal, she added.
Like his opponents, the leader of the PQ emphasized the role of a deputy who, according to him, must intervene when the MTQ does not collaborate with local elected officials and does not consult the population. « Clearly, there is a form of silence imposed on the CAQ and it is very unhealthy for all kinds of issues for citizens, » said Paul St-Pierre Plamondon.
Jean-Paul Émond reiterated Climat Québec’s desire to make public transit free, which would reduce the number of cars on the roads. He also mentioned the problem of trucking, which is very present on Notre-Dame Street, and the impact this has on road infrastructure.
Bourama Keita repeated that the priority of the PVQ was for public transport, but added that his party also wants to invest in road infrastructure. He also indicated that better consultation is necessary so that the roads meet environmental needs and are of high quality.
Charles McNicoll explained for his part that in order to reduce the impacts of the repair of the bridge-tunnel, it would be necessary to add a bridge in the east of Montreal, « or a tunnel », he specified, explaining on the other hand that the Autonomist Party does not wish to interfere in the work of the MTQ.
*During a conference on September 21, the PLQ said it was ready to invest all the money necessary to build the REM de l’Est, provided that the project wins social acceptability.