More power, no more money in cities, Legault said

(Quebec) François Legault is committed to changing the expropriation law and giving municipalities the right of first refusal, but outright refused to review the taxation of cities, wanting to get out of the property tax chain. He said he agrees with the densification, but he still advanced his Quebec-Lévis tunnel to an assembly of elected municipal officials.

Posted at 11:28 AM
Updated at 2:36 pm

Charles Lecavalier

Charles Lecavalier
The Press

Fanny Levesque

Fanny Levesque
The Press

“At the end of the session, we will give you the right of first refusal on land in your municipalities. I will make another promise: in the next mandate, we will also enact a law on expropriations, ”the Prime Minister launched Thursday during his visit to the Assises of the Union of Quebec Municipalities.

So far, only the city of Montreal is entitled to the first denial, allowing it to “buy with priority over anyone buying certain buildings or land to carry out projects for the benefit of the community”. Several other cities sought this power.

As for the expropriation law, the mayors are calling for a reform of this law, because right now, cities have to pay the owner for the potential income he can get from his land, which becomes very expensive. for taxpayers. . In addition, the legal challenge process can take time and slow down projects, particularly public transport. UMQ was pleased with these two promises.

However, the Prime Minister is deaf to the third historic request from municipalities, whose revenues are essentially based on one thing, property taxes. And the more a city develops new neighborhoods, the greater its revenue. Many elected officials make a direct correlation between this method of taxation and urban sprawl.

no more money

For François Legault, however, there is no way Quebec can provide tax space to cities. “The mayors know I’m a direct person. I’m going to be direct. We also have a deficit in Quebec, and our government employees earn 30% less than employees with the same position in the municipality, ”Mr. Legault said in front of the floor of elected municipal officials. Recently, however, he mentioned the promise to cut taxes during the fall election campaign.

Mr. Legault told the mayors that “our taxes and our income taxes are on the ceiling” and they are “communication vehicles”. However, he said he was “open to suggestions”. His cabinet also pleaded that municipalities receive more transfers under the CAQ government (an average of 6.2 billion) than under the Liberal government of Philippe Couillard (an average of 4.6 billion).

François Legault also discussed the debate between densification and urban sprawl. Its Transport Minister François Bonnardel has been criticized for claiming that densification is a “fad”. However, as written The Press this morning, in his book Towards a winning Quebecpublished in 2013, François Legault lamented the disadvantages of urban sprawl, favored the rehabilitation of contaminated land in the city instead of dezoning agricultural land and pleaded for the conversion of highways to urban boulevards.

Mr. Legault referred to this in his speech. “It’s important, yes, to compact our cities, limit urban sprawl, and one of the ways to do that is to decontaminate the land that’s in our cities. For me, it’s a priority,” he said.

Legault defended the third link

In the same breath, however, he defended his project on the highway tunnel between Quebec and Lévis “We have the right to build a second major metropolis in Quebec. Part of it will be done in densification in Quebec, but we have to put people it’s everywhere, and we need to make sure we continue to develop the Chaudière-Appalaches and the regions, ”he said. he says.

He also provided a great cook for Quebec mayor Bruno Marchand, who the other day accused his government of having “populist” and “deceptive” rhetoric on urban sprawl, linked to the economic development of regions. So Mr. Legault saluted the former mayor of Quebec Régis Labeaume, the “chronicler of The Press “.” Overall, it’s easy to work with you Régis, “he said.

courage to act

“He has the right to make jokes, he has the right to animate the crowd, at the same time, the urgency requires us to act. If we do not act, we will not be able to look our children in the eye and tell them, when we know, we do not have the courage to act, ”retorted Bruno Marchand.

In his opinion, no “scientist can agree” on the CAQ’s plan to develop east Lévis with a highway tunnel that would allow people to live farther from the countryside and drive alone. work in Quebec. UMQ president, Daniel Côté, also made a strong plea for concrete actions in the fight against climate change. “This is not just an issue for many others. This is the priority that should guide our decisions, ”he said.

The message from the Union of Municipalities:

– The best way to combat climate change is through land use planning

-We can no longer build cities as before, the use of territory must be optimized

– Every project submitted by elected officials must be done through climate impact assessment

“It is a big challenge, but we can handle it. All municipalities are united, on this important issue, we want, this is the number one challenge of our time, ”he said.

Opposition to Marchand’s Defense


Bruno Marchand

In the National Assembly, all opposition parties lined up behind Mayor Bruno Marchand.

“I think he said out loud what almost everyone thinks quietly and I think government populism, it’s on some topics”, launched the leader of the Parti Québécois, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, who praised the “courage” of many new mayors who openly attacked the Legault government.

“In Quebec politics, we always say that the mayors stay in power, will remain silent to try to get what they need for their city. But, for now, the government’s statements and directions are very deceptive and very far from reality. that there are mayors who have enough responsibility to correct the facts, ”he added.

Québec solidaire MNA Andrés Fontecilla on his part recalled the “important roles [en matière] of the opposition ”played by municipalities.

“We are seeing a growing opposition in Quebec [devant] this pride of the Legault government that believed science had entered. Often, municipalities, which are quite very diplomatic in relation to the government there, they raise their voices, they dare to publicly oppose the various projects of the Government of Quebec, indicating that there is something, “maintenance – he.

Liberal leader Dominique Anglade, for her part, believes a direct collision is developing between the cities and the Coalition avenir Québec government on the front lines of climate change, labor and the housing crisis.

“These three elements are definitely leading us to a crossroads. There are important decisions that need to be made that the government has not made because we are putting our heads in the sand,” he explained.

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