Tramway: Villeneuve leaves the production committee to regain his right to speak


Claude Villeneuve leaves the tramway project implementation committee. Considering this function incompatible with his role as Leader of the Opposition, he preferred to withdraw, despite his support for the project, to regain his right to speak.

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The leader of Quebec first had obtained a seat on the committee for the realization of the tramway in the wake of his election almost a year ago. At the time, this appointment was seen as a gesture of openness and collaboration. Mr. Villeneuve refuses to see it as a maneuver by Mayor Bruno Marchand to muzzle him.

However, with hindsight, he says he found that being in the secret of the gods prevented him from adequately fulfilling his role in the official opposition.

“It prevents me from doing a critical job with regard to the tram (…) We realized that it is difficult to do our job, to hold the mayor accountable and to ask him questions when in as a member of the committee, I have access to confidential information,” he explained during a press scrum before the council meeting at city hall on Monday.

“We saw it a few days ago, the mayor confirmed that there would obviously be cost overruns in the tram file, if only because of inflation. Well, I, on the tramway implementation committee, am aware of that and I can’t question him, I can’t bring up a critical point, I can’t question the mayor’s management and I can’t question him, no more about the commitments he made in the last campaign and hound him on that,” he said.

Not a disavowal of the tramway

Claude Villeneuve has confirmed that he will submit his letter of resignation during the council meeting this evening. His departure will allow him, he says, to take a « healthy distance » and to be a « critical ally » of the mayor for the tramway project, in which he says he still believes more than ever.

“It should not be interpreted as a break with the tram project or a withdrawal of our support for this project which is fundamental for the future of Quebec and which we continue to support. If I have the choice of still being a municipal councilor in the next election or that there is a tramway in Quebec in 2028, I will choose the tramway, ”he insisted.

The mayor flayed on his balance sheet

Claude Villeneuve and his colleague Alicia Despins did not fail, however, to skin the mayor Marchand, Monday, on the balance sheet of his achievements at the town hall for almost a year.

The two believe that Bruno Marchand, elected by a narrow majority of 739 votes, would not have reached the town hall if he had not promised « the moon » and created excessive expectations to charm both pro-tramway and the anti-tramway, because of the ambiguity of his remarks in the campaign and his promises of improvements that he could not all deliver.

The opposition also criticizes him for having broken his commitment to lower commercial taxes, for still being far from the goal of zero roaming, for having failed to satisfy citizens with snow removal and for having taken too long to form a committee on the shortage of manpower, while Quebec first multiplied the interventions on the subject.

Stung Merchant

« So if I understand the Leader of the Opposition correctly, everything that’s going well right now is because of him, then everything that’s going badly is because of our broken promises… » , replied the mayor at the start of the evening, visibly stung.

Mr. Marchand defended his record vigorously, saying that the City is “moving” faster than ever on the homelessness file. He added that since his arrival, the city has increased the ratio of trees planted to replace those that will be felled for the tramway project tenfold, which has increased from 2:1 to 20:1.

Finally, he criticized his opponent for playing « traditional » politics with his bouquet of reproaches. “Me, that’s not how I think we can improve the city and go further. He made his choice, he made his niche. We will work with this way of doing things. I think the City loses there, ”he said sorry.



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