Éric Caire Uncovers Dominique Anglade’s $11.5 Billion Mistake

 

 28 April 2016

The CAQ’s critic for the Treasury Board, Éric Caire, has called attention to the flagrant ignorance displayed by the Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy, Dominique Anglade, in her own ministry’s program.

The CAQ MNA addressed the Minister’s declarations during the examination of the budget allocation; she stated that the funding envelope to support business digitalization will be of 3.1 million dollars, a “modest sum” which has “no limitation”. Dominique Anglade added that this was an “estimate”, and that every company in Quebec may rely on it. According to Éric Caire, her statements are inapplicable within the contingencies of the budget.

“When I told her that 3.1 million dollars would far from suffice, for our companies to close the gap in electronic commerce, she sided with me and recognized that the government’s assistance was indeed modest. However, she continues to assert that every business in Quebec will be able to receive a $50,000 tax credit. Thus, 236,000 companies in Quebec can benefit of this funding envelope. The 3.1 million dollars budgeted are therefore very far from the actual 11.834 billion dollars required to honour her commitment! Where exactly is she planning to find the 11.5 billion dollars that are missing? Our companies are facing serious challenges, and they deserve to know the truth. They shouldn’t be subjected to another Liberal improvisation”, stated Éric Caire.

Dominique Anglade was visibly embarrassed, and made it worse by refusing to retract her comments at the parliamentary committee; despite an open invitation to do so, by the member for La Peltrie.

Emergency Breaker Replacement: Hydro Quebec Was Aware Since 2003

 

 27 April 2016

Quebecers are being invoiced more than 500 million dollars, for an emergency breaker replacement in Hydro Quebec’s power network. Meanwhile, the CAQ exposes an internal report generated in December 2003, by an engineer of the state-owned enterprise, recommending for Hydro Quebec to substitute its PK units by effective, new generation breakers.

The 2003 study is clear: The SF6 circuit breakers offer improved reliability, sustainability, performance and safety. They are also more affordable than the PK units over the long run; stated the CAQ critic for energy, Chantal Soucy, as she waved the report at the Blue Room. She called on the Minister of Energy, Pierre Arcand, to identify the administrators responsible for this poor decision, and to initiate an investigation by the Auditor General.

“I cannot believe that, while the solution has been known since 2003, Hydro Quebec is only acting now! Not only has the Crown Corporation been aware, in the last 13 years, that its breakers are dangerous and are causing major outages and fires; but it also has the nerve to claim millions in taxpayer dollars for urgent maintenance. I will tell you what is urgent, to punish those responsible for this fiasco. There is clear negligence in this file, and the Auditor General should be able to investigate what happened”; said Chantal Soucy to Pierre Arcand, who appeared oblivious to the report’s existence.

The member for Sainte-Hyacinthe expressed her surprise, to discover that repairs and maintenance were made on over a hundred breakers between 1994 and 2002. Considering that refurbishing a breaker is supposed to increase its longevity by 30 years on average, most of the equipment should, in theory, be functional at least until 2024; informs Soucy. “The Minister must face the facts. It is ludicrous for him not to wonder, like I do, what caused Hydro Quebec to wake up 13 years late, and request for last minute repairs! Due to Hydro Quebec’s bad management, Quebecers are in line for yet another bill, amounting to a half a billion dollars this time”, regretted the CAQ member.

For or Against the Creation of a Long-Gun Registry?

 

 27 April 2016

The CAQ has initiated a consultation process, in order to know the public’s opinion regarding the creation of a long-gun registry.

For several months now, the Liberal government’s bill 64 has been the subject of an emotional debate.

You may now share your opinion about Quebec’s long-gun registry at: www.pouroucontreleregistre.com/en.

Please note that in order to accurately reflect the opinions of citizens from all the regions of Quebec, the CAQ’s Members of the National Assembly will have the right to a free vote on the final version of Couillard government’s bill 64.

Education Conference: Legault Wants 4-18 Year Olds in School

 

 24 April 2016

The CAQ Leader, François Legault, is keen on giving families the opportunity to send their children to school a year sooner. He has spoken in favor of school attendance for all young Quebecers, between 4 to 18 years of age. Legault made this statement during the Conference for Quebec’s Success, a non-partisan event organized and hosted by the CAQ member for Chambly, Jean-François Roberge.

In a speech given during the event, François Legault explained that he wants to make pre-kindergarten available, to all children in Quebec, at four years of age. Much like kindergarten for 5 year olds, this service should be available but not mandatory. The CAQ Leader also wants to develop a strategy of implemented measures, aiming to ensure that young Quebecers stay in school until they turn 18, or until they obtain a diploma.

“Junior kindergarten at 4 years of age is important! It is the best method for the early detection of problems such as language delays and learning difficulties”, he stated; basing himself on numerous works and examples from abroad. He insists that an early detection of problems encountered by Quebec’s youth is vital in the fight against school dropout.

We are facing a scourge which affects one boy out of four in Quebec; Mr. Legault believes that a series of measures are necessary to ensure that Quebec’s students, who did not obtain a diploma, would stay in school until the age of eighteen. “If in Quebec the legal age is 18, I don’t see why a minor can take a decision, on his own, to leave school at 16. Dropping out of school is a major decision!” he continues.

Throughout the conference, many experts and representatives from different education circles, exchanged ideas for a potential 4 to18 year old school attendance program. Some of the main ideas were: Coaching and school counselling for every student, in effect from the beginning of high school; emphasizing on professional programs; active involvement of youth employment centres (CJEs), to follow the cases of potential school dropouts, and to ban employers from scheduling minors who aren’t attending school during regular class hours, as is practiced in Ontario.

The MNA Jean-François Roberge, who coordinated the event, believes that such input is crucial to the public debate in Quebec. “More than ever, we need to build an arsenal to fight against school dropout. I am ever more so convinced, after listening to the experts and leaders of our academic system in this non-partisan forum. In the upcoming months, I sincerely hope for all political parties to debate on the proposals that were discussed today, and to adopt many of them. One thing is certain, the CAQ will make school attendance, for 4 to 18 year olds, a central focus of its political commitment!” he concluded.

Let us note that earlier this month, Jean-François Roberge launched his new book: What If We Reinvented Schools? The Chronicles of an Idealistic Teacher, a Quebec America publishing.

(Et si on réinventait l’école? Chroniques d’un prof idéaliste, aux éditions Québec Amérique).

$16,000 “Pastafarianism” Study: Couillard Must Call His Minister to Order

 

 22 April 2016

Quebecers have had enough of seeing the Minister of Transport, Jacques Daoust, making improper jokes about the $16,000 wasted by his ministry, in the study a frivolous religion. The CAQ believes that Jacques Daoust should have expressed his regret as an alternative to a boastful display at the parliamentary commission. Thus, the CAQ is asking Philippe Couillard to call his minister to order, and is awaiting for an official representative of the government to acknowledge that this expense was a mistake.

The CAQ critic for secularism, Nathalie Roy, is having serious doubts on whether the Liberal ministers have any value for money. Let us recall that only two weeks ago, Rita De Santis said that $150,000 is “peanuts”.

“I am wondering if this government understands the value of money! If $150,000 is peanuts, what is $16,000? Evidently, for Jacques Daoust and his colleagues, $16,000 is breadcrumbs; but for millions of taxpayers, who wake up every morning to go to work, and who pay their taxes, it is a significant sum. Instead of excusing himself to the general public, Jacques Daoust opted for bad jokes, giggles in the corner, and condescending smirks. He even sent a cry out for all the “Pastafarians” to “behave”. Instead of being ashamed of this waste of public funds, he roared with laughter in front of the entire population. $16,000 for tasteless jokes seems like a hefty price to pay. I am asking the Prime Minister, Philippe Couillard, to restore order, and to have his minister apologize to the taxpayers”, thundered Nathalie Roy.

According to Jacques Daoust, it is none other than Stéphanie Vallée who has instructed the prosecutors to take matters to the Superior Court, thus spending the precious time of Quebec’s judicial system. Therefore, Nathalie Roy is demanding that both ministers communicate, and punish the individuals responsible for this ridiculous affair, in their respective ministries.

“No one in the government, has yet acknowledged that this was a mistake. It is incredible; the government would not assume responsibility, after having spent $16,000 to find out whether wearing a pirate costume and a spaghetti colander constitutes a religion. Instead of laughing foolishly, they should ask themselves serious questions, and make sure that this type of situation never repeats itself”, concluded Nathalie Roy.

Water Is a National Priority

 

 22 April 2016

For this year’s Earth Day, the CAQ critic for the environment and sustainable development, Mathieu Lemay, seized an opportunity on Friday, to remind us all that the challenges to protect our waters are considerable, and that Quebec has a significant responsibility in these matters.

Quebec alone has 3% of the world’s fresh water, which is an extraordinary wealth, says Mathieu Lemay. Although some efforts were made, since the year 2000, to preserve this shared treasure, there is still a long road to ensure the protection, with vigour and conviction, of this natural resource, states the CAQ member.

“This water is all over our province. Quebec is practically synonymous to water. Yet, we take for granted that every Quebecer has access to clean water. It is unfortunately already no longer the case! On March 15th, we reached 113 water boil warnings in Quebec. In total, 43 facilities were affected in 38 municipalities. It is a sad reality, there are already Quebecers that do not have access to clean water. It is inacceptable; we are in the year 2016, after all” supports Mathieu Lemay.

Managing waste water is also a serious problem in Quebec. In 2013, there were over 45,500 reported discharges on untreated waste water. “More than ever, we cannot afford any more discharges like the one in Montreal, last November. It is a fact, new facilities for waste water treatment are necessary in Quebec, to process more water during periods of high volume discharges”, he stresses.

In conclusion, the member for Masson expresses his will to see the sound use of the Saint Lawrence River for economic development. It can be used as an effective gateway to the American continent, while ensuring to preserve its marine ecosystems and access to Quebec’s residents. “The Saint Lawrence is the most important waterway corridor in North America. It is a great competitive advantage! The government fails to capitalize on this resource with its Maritime Strategy. We need to acknowledge the task at hand. There is so much to do, and unfortunately, too little political and social awareness. Let’s make our fresh water a true priority for Quebec!” insists Mathieu Lemay.

Regional Economic Development: Where Is Lise Thériault?

 

 22 April 2016

At the budgetary appropriation study for the regional economic development on Friday, the CAQ MNA, Donald Martel, expected to be sitting across the government’s Minister for regional matters, Lise Thériault; rather, to his surprise, she was replaced by the Minister of Public Security, Martin Coiteux. Her absence is completely inexcusable, at the year’s most important parliamentary mandate for all ministries, stated Donald Martel.

“I have been involved in the regional economic environment for over twenty years; the government has always dignified these discussions with an appropriate representative. I almost fell off my chair when I heard the comments made by Minister Coiteux. According to him, there is no minister assigned to regional development, but every minister is regionally involved in his own way! What exactly is Lise Thériault’s role? She has suddenly become the Minister of nothing! Even more outrageous, is that the government is sending yet another awful message to our regions, who have already been feeling abandoned since Philippe Couillard’s coming to power. Who can the regions count on, to defend their interests within this government? It is completely ambiguous”, reproached the CAQ critic for regional economic development.

Donald Martel had hoped to question Lise Thériault on her plans for the regions to prosper, especially after abolishing the Regional Conferences of Elected Officials (CRÉs), nearly a year ago. The CAQ member is saddened by the Liberal government`s nearsightedness, that is depriving the regions of democratic consultations, henceforth available only to government officials.

The CAQ Uncovers a $500M Cost Overrun

 

 21 April 2016

The Liberal government was unable to justify the 500 million dollar excess in costs, revealed by the CAQ, for the extension of route 138, in Côte-Nord, reaching Blanc-Sablon. Questioned by the CAQ critic for transport and member for Groulx, Claude Surprenant, the Minister of Transport, Jacques Daoust, did not even bother to rise, and commit to Quebec’s taxpayers that there will not be any more excesses of the sort in the upcoming months.

Instead, it is the Minister for Energy and Natural Resources, Pierre Arcand, who has taken a stand in chamber to defend this fiasco. He admitted, during earlier budget consultations, that the final cost is now assessed at 1.5 billion dollars, instead of the billion forecasted initially.

“What is troubling, is that it can end up costing even more! Two road stretches are currently being examined in a study by the Quebec Infrastructure Plan for 2016-2026, but evidently the government is clueless as to the project’s real and final cost. The government’s method of work is simple; start the work first and discover the cost later. We will know the cost once we reach Blanc-Sablon! The extension of route 138 has become a real financial hole”, stated Claude Surprenant.

The member for Groulx has no more doubt that the Minister of Transport has become a repeat offender in cost overruns. “The Ministry of Transport, is the Ministry of blank cheques. Contrary to what some ministers think, 500 million dollars is not peanuts!” concluded Claude Surprenant.

Second Time in Two Days: The PLQ Denies Motion for Internal Audit

 

 21 April 2016

The Quebec Liberal Party is adamant; it has no intention to open its books. In fact, for a second day in a row, the Liberal MNAs have refused to support the CAQ’s motion, demanding for the National Assembly to recognize the necessity to launch an investigation on political party financing for the years 1996 to 2011.

Yet, it was only yesterday, that the Prime minister and Liberal Leader, Philippe Couillard, stated that he was ready to prove his political party’s transparency “for any period of time”. The CAQ critic for integrity, Nathalie Roy, considers that this second reverse clearly shows the apprehension that reigns in the Liberal caucus.

“What do they have to hide? It’s hard to distinguish who is telling the truth in this party! The Prime Minister was rebuffed on two occasions by his team; he finally agreed, after weeks of pressure, for the DGEQ to stick its nose in the Liberal books for the last 20 year period. It is quite obvious that by denying our motion, not only is the Prime Minister retracting his words, but he is also refusing to reimburse the dirty money that was collected illegally, during the period of time that was examined by the Charbonneau Commission. Quebecers have many questions that need to be answered. How much money did Marc-Yvan Côté amass? Were the contributions legal? The citizens want the government to allow the DGEQ to backtrack, for as long as necessary, to recover the money collected illegally!” informed Nathalie Roy.

The CAQ Reveals a $77.5M Bonus for School Boards

 

 20 April 2016

Quebec school boards paid out over 77.5 million dollars in grants and bonuses to their non-teaching staff, revealed the CAQ on Wednesday, at the National Assembly.

“It is an outrage! The year 2014-2015 was a very difficult one for the education system. The students were the first victims of the budget cuts by the Liberal government. The ones with learning difficulties were hit first. I have taken a stand on numerous occasions, in order to contest these cuts. I found it unfortunate that the school boards had to resolve to a 44 million dollar deficit, in order to maintain student services. Today, everything is clear; instead of providing the services to our youth, 77.5 million dollars were given in grants and bonuses to non-teaching staff. The money could have been used to hire at least a thousand professionals who would provide student services. Yet, in 2014-2015, the money didn’t fulfil this purpose! It is sickening”, condemned Jean-François Roberge, facing an overcome Minister of Education.

The member for Chambly expressed his heartfelt thoughts, to all the parents of children with learning difficulties, who aren’t receiving the help they need. “I think about the mothers of children in difficulty, who accompanied me on three occasions to denounce that their young ones are not receiving the care that they deserve. I am thinking about all the Quebecers who work hard, pay taxes, and learn that 77.5 million dollars were given in grants and bonuses to the school boards, at our children’s expense. How can the Minister justify such a misappropriation of funds?” asked Jean-François Roberge, and received no answer.