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.

 

The CAQ Rises to Defend Quebec’s Greenhouse Growers

 

 19 April 2016

The Minister of Energy, Pierre Arcand, refuses to take part in any discussion towards a more affordable electricity rate for Quebec’s greenhouse farmers and producers. However, the CAQ’s critic for energy, Chantal Soucy, has provided the figures proving that the energy measures undertaken by the Crown Corporation were largely insufficient. In fact, from 2015 to 2016, only 14 farm and greenhouse customers were able to benefit of discounted rates; only 1 more customer than the previous year.

“The minister says that he will form a work committee in the upcoming months. He is completely oblivious; I invite him, instead, to visit our producers on their fields! There are over 700 greenhouse farms in Quebec. Yet, the Liberal government boasts upon empty measures that have helped but a handful. For several months now, our producers have been crying for Minister Arcand’s help. For the vast majority of them, the electric expense accounts for up to 35% of the production price; depending on the crop, especially during the winter season. A moderation of the current regulations would make our growers more competitive and would support one of Quebec’s key economic sectors”, stated Chantal Soucy.

The member for Saint-Hyacinthe proposes to lower the minimal power threshold from 400 to 100 kilowatts per day, in order to allow a prompt discounted rate for the lighting used in growing. According to Soucy, this mere substitution would allow some fifty small and medium greenhouse companies to save on electricity. However, the minister has rejected this suggestion.

A Social Debate

The CAQ critic for agriculture, Sylvie D’Amours, added that her political party is the first to make such a formal suggestion; to take advantage of Hydro Quebec’s surplus in the form a preferential electricity rate, to soothe our greenhouse vegetable producers.

“We are hoping to engage in a serious social debate regarding these matters, but the Liberals refuse to collaborate. Our growers are in need of a helping hand, in order to maintain a flow of fresh vegetables to Quebecers. Produce that was grown locally, on our fields, and under the best conditions. A strong greenhouse farming sector will yield benefits to Quebec as a whole. Let us be proud local consumers and have ambitious goals for Quebec’s producers!” concluded the member for Mirabel.

Legault Denounces Zero Increase in Business Investments for 2016

 

 19 April 2016

The Prime Minister, Philippe Couillard, pronounces countless words, chained in beautiful speeches, to vaunt his economic strategy. Yet, the facts state that this year, business investments are to remain at 0%, regretted the CAQ Leader, François Legault.

After a two year delay, the Couillard government has finally presented its strategic plan for Investments Quebec (IQ), which unfortunately lacks a targeted increase in corporate investments. While the midterm budget has already forecasted rough months for our economy, the strategy tabled last Thursday confirmed that the Liberals still haven’t found the path to our economic recovery, highlighted the CAQ Leader.

“Quebec has everything vital to become wealthier; but in order to prosper, the government must do two things: Invest in education and increase business investment. In my view, IQ is the government’s greatest instrument to increase the latter. Yet, the strategy revealed has many words, and no real content. Two years after being elected, the Liberal government is still going around in circles. A shy business investment betrays the government’s lack of confidence in its own strategy!” stated François Legault.

The member for L’Assomption notes that the challenges encountered by our entrepreneurs are abundant, especially considering that only last year, investments were down by 4.7%. “The Liberal government has lost two years, and its economic record speaks for itself. A great many papers are being printed, but overworking the government’s printers is not an ambitious economic strategy. The day will come, when the Prime Minister will have to answer for his results”, concluded François Legault.

Reform of Physician Remuneration: Barrette Refuses to Cooperate

 

 19 April 2016

During the last 8 years, Quebec’s government has supplemented a 72% increase in remuneration for family doctors, amounting to a billion dollars, while the number of medical services has increased by only 8% for this period of time; according to the exclusive data by the Quebec medical insurance board (RAMQ), which was revealed by the CAQ on Tuesday.

The CAQ’s critic for health, François Paradis, considers that the patients did not receive their money’s worth. Minister Gaétan Barrette must draw the right conclusion from this new data: There is a prompt necessity to review the current physician fee-for-service method, highlighted Mr. Paradis.

“We learned this morning in the papers, that general practitioners touched premiums of $1.5B during the last five years, without necessarily delivering the merchandise. Bolduc’s primes have failed. Yet, this is not all. The CAQ received new and exclusive data from the RAMQ: There was an 8% increase in services along with a 72% increase in remuneration. It is not enough. The source of the problem is well known; we need to review the archaic physician fee-for-service method, as proposed by the CAQ since 2012”, stated the member for Lévis during the Question Period.

François Paradis informed that there are other ways to compensate doctors, such as through a capitation system, in which remuneration is based on the number of patients under care, rather than on the number of services provided. Presented with the information, revealed by the CAQ on Tuesday, Gaétan Barrette refused, once again, to commit to solve the problem. “Instead of thinking of other approaches, the Health Minister defends the status quo, much to the delight of the medical unions. Things have to change, since the doctors keep earning more, without any increase in privileges for Quebecers. Why was the Health Minister in favour of a reform of the physician remuneration method in 2012, but is no longer so, since his political turnaround in 2014?” challenged François Paradis.

What If We Reinvented Schools?

 

 14 April 2016

Last Tuesday, the CAQ’s education critic and member for Chambly, Jean-François Roberge, has officially launched his third book: “What If We Reinvented Schools?”

The elementary teacher of seventeen years raises the toughest challenges that he had to face during his career.

He proposes many solutions, for reinvented schools to “orient, accompany and certify”. He recommends to open kindergartens for 4 year olds in all schools, to create a professional body for teachers, and to put more emphasis on after-school activities.

A columnist in the Journal de Québec, Mario Asselin, says that in the book we find “the same passionate educator, who is as attentive and visionary as I have always perceived him to be. His work as MNA has not blemished his candor, his perception, nor his wit. His ability to revolutionize schools through a vision based on real experiences is a rare commodity in politics. The educator and politician aptly presents solutions, and provides brilliant explanations”.

Jean-François Roberge has also appeared in a series of interviews to explain his efforts, such as Outaouais Now at 104.7FM.

The Liberals: A Perfect Storm in Education

 

 14 April 2016

No vision, empty election promises, four ministers, and chronic uncertainty: The Couillard government has created a “perfect storm” in education, denounced MNA Jean-François Roberge.

The CAQ critic for education especially resents the government’s withdrawal in matters of school elections, after having promised to abolish them.

“I am telling you, a perfect Liberal storm. It goes on, while the minister of contradictions executes a triple axel on the question of school elections for 20 million, the students in difficulty are being denied the services that they deserve”, denounces the member for Chambly. “What he does is by far more significant than what he says. While he says that he is investing for success, he cuts in special education teaching positions. Next year, in the Montreal school board (CSDM), there will be 20 to 40 less special education teachers available to the students who are most in need. What the minister says and what he does are two completely different things, flip-flop…” continues Jean-François Roberge in the Journal de Québec.

The Minister of Education, Sébastien Proulx, has also admitted that he is ashamed of the physical state of our schools.

School Dropout: Couillard Does Not Rule out More Cuts

 

 14 April 2016

During a verbal exchange in chamber, between the CAQ Leader, François Legault, and the Prime Minister of Quebec, Philippe Couillard, the latter proved to be open to more budget cuts for students with learning difficulties. This was strongly contested by François Legault.

Recalling many examples of poor education management by the Liberals, the CAQ Leader upheld the importance of fighting school dropout. He then asked for a firm commitment by the Prime Minister, for the benefit of students with learning difficulties.

“The first measure that needs to be applied by the Prime Minister in the fight against school dropout, would be to end the cuts in services for students with learning difficulties”, he said. However, the Prime Minister refused to make such a commitment.

The CAQ considers that the Liberals are making no progress in matters of education. “The Prime Minister must declare war against school dropout. Fancy theoretical speeches will not suffice; it takes a solid commitment not to cut anymore in the services for the students who are most in need”, concluded the CAQ Leader.

It is important to note that in the last two years, there were three Ministers of Education appointed in Couillard’s cabinet.

Philippe Couillard Is Deflated

 

 13 April 2016

After accusing the CAQ Leader of kindling the ember of intolerance, for questioning Quebec’s capacity to increase its immigration threshold by 10,000 people, the Prime Minister Philippe Couillard and his Minister Kathleen Weil seem to have reconsidered the facts and found reason; observed François Legault with delight.

In contrast to previous weeks, Philippe Couillard refused today to recommit to the objective of 60,000 immigrants this year. “On March 9, I asked the Prime Minister to reconsider his decision to increase by 20%, from 50,000 to 60,000, the number of immigrants that will be welcomed every year to Quebec. He answered that an increase in the immigration threshold is necessary, and in a burst of anger, he accused me of kindling the ember of intolerance. I am appeased that the Prime Minister appears deflated in these matters. The reality is that the current integration process is unsuitable; the Minister has likely reached the same conclusion, as she announced her intention to maintain a stable threshold for the time being”, stated François Legault.

The CAQ Leader believes that an increase in the immigration threshold, despite the significant insufficiencies in integration, francization, and employability for new Quebecers, is not a sound decision. “One thing on which the Prime Minister and I can agree, is that the goal has to be the adequate integration of newcomers. However, the Prime Minister is still unable to answer whether a new Quebecer is well integrated, if he doesn’t have the tools to learn French” regretted François Legault.

It is remarkable that in Le Devoir from March 9, Philippe Couillard says “we have to do it”, regarding the increase in the yearly immigration threshold to 60,000.

The CAQ: An Interim Monopoly Granted to Premier Tech

 

 13 April 2016

The Coalition Avenir Québec uncovered on Wednesday that the Minister of Environment, David Heurtel, has granted a provisional monopoly to Premier Tech, which employed Marc-Yvan Côté, due to regulations on septic systems.

The CAQ’s house leader, François Bonnardel, stated that the government had put an end to this monopoly only last week, while Sam Hamad was at the heart of a controversy involving Premier Tech.

The CAQ connects this decision benefitting Premier Tech to Marc-Yvan Côté, who was arrested recently by the UPAC. The Journal de Montréal reported that in a 2008 email exchange, Marc-Yvan Côté tells André Côté, former VP of Roche, that “everything has been organised” with Premier Tech’s big boss. André Côté answered that he wanted to finance the campaign of Liberal MNA Germain Chévarie, whose brother is a municipal consultant who has been “pushing our isolated dwellings treatment project since the beginning”. “The Liberals do not smell too good in this septic tank issue, where we can see the dealings that took place already in 2008”, supports François Bonnardel, while asking David Heurtel for explanations.

The CAQ’s Motion for Diafiltered Milk Is Unanimous

 

 13 April 2016

The National Assembly will urge the federal government to better harmonise the definition of diafiltered milk. This prerogative is made possible due to a motion submitted by the CAQ’s critic for agriculture, Sylvie D’Amours, who has successfully obtained the unanimity of her colleagues on Wednesday.

According to the member for Mirabel, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency should consider diafiltered milk as a protein concentrate ingredient to cheese; as is already the case in the Canada Border Services Agency. The ambiguity that reigns today is harmful to our local dairy production, and deprives milk producers of about 200 million dollars in yearly revenues, regretted Sylvie D’Amours.

“I am proud to be supported by all my colleagues, regardless of their party affiliation. The work begins now; the federal government’s action in the matter is long overdue. It is outrageous for us to be in this situation as a result of two organizations that are unable to reconcile! At the CAQ, we believe that Quebec’s cheese doesn’t have to be made with American diafiltered milk. Many processors are asking for the access of these products to be banned. Quebec’s milk production is an economic sector that is far too dominant and substantial for our regions to let go!” stated Sylvie D’Amours.