Tram challenge: will the discussions of the Council of Ministers remain secret?
The anti-tramway group wants to know the deliberations of the council of ministers which led to the decision to authorize the project, which the government opposes; the question will be debated on November 9, when the case returns to court.
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Judge Clément Samson heard the parties present on Tuesday at the Quebec City courthouse, in a management conference in anticipation of the trial to be held for five days from December 5.
The judge insisted that everything be ready for this date, wanting at all costs to avoid the trial being prolonged, or even being delayed.
« I want a trial that’s rolling and staying on track in December because what people need is a judgment. »
Until then, however, the question of the confidentiality of the deliberations of the Council of Ministers that led to the adoption of a decree authorizing the project must be settled.
For the lawyer of the group Quebec deserves better, which disputes the legality of the project, it is crucial.
« It’s really important to know what the Council of Ministers relied on to reject the BAPE report, which follows the international rules of the art in engineering. »
The Attorney General of Quebec, represented by Mr.e Gabrielle Ferland Gagnon, agreed with the judge to file affidavits by October 21, from an expert, Marie-Emmanuelle Rail, and representatives of the executive council and possibly the Ministry of Transport.
However, these will be filed only with the judge and it will be up to him to determine whether they should remain confidential.
The Attorney General considers that it is « contrary to the public interest to publish information which has been the subject of discussions in the Council of Ministers ».
For mee Bertrand, it is on the contrary relevant to know on what basis the decisions were taken, in particular that of rejecting the BAPE report.
“We want to know if it was done rationally. It must not be the whims of the minister.”
This is what will be debated in court on November 9. The judge will also determine the relevance of these statements in the case.
Note that the law on access to information stipulates that the discussions of the council of ministers are protected for 25 years.
Turn on the light
The spokespersons of the group Quebec deserves better, Donald Charette and Dorys Chabot, are delighted that the facts are exposed to the public.
“The truth will finally proceed. We are going to have the right time, ”said Mme Chabot, who is confident that the deliberations will be made public.
Mr. Charette maintained that his group, which solicits donations from the public, will have enough funds to make it to trial. It is appropriate that the electoral campaign, where one according to him did not speak enough about the tram, made shade with the financing.
“We have to reactivate things. […] We arrive in the decisive portion, where there will be a decision of the court. So that’s where people are going to have to come forward. »
The plaintiff’s three experts were to be heard on Tuesday to determine their qualification in the case.
They are urban transport specialist Fanny Tremblay-Racicot and two professors, Denis Poussard and Gérard Gosselin.
The City of Quebec has already announced that it will file a request for rejection of these expert opinions.
However, this question will finally be decided at the start of the trial in December, said Judge Samson.