What Montreal can expect from the CAQ government
CAQ government – At first glance one may be tempted to anticipate little action on the part of the new provincial government regarding Montreal: the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) only elected two MNAs in the whole island. As expected, the Liberals dominated the region with Québec solidaire (QS) getting six ridings, and the PQ being completely wiped out. In other words, Montrealers were on the losing side and –despite the goodwill words by the victor the night of the election– politics, being what it is, Montreal as a region might end up low in the priorities of the new administration.
However –not to be negative from the start– it is important to remember that during the campaign, François Legault and his party made important promises to Montrealers on subjects that are very dear to people in the whole area, not only the city itself.
Public transit, certainly one of the priorities for Montrealers, was an issue on which during the campaign the CAQ put great emphasis: the party supported the REM, and even though trains won’t be running until 2022, the CAQ already had promised to expand it. In its platform, the party didn’t indicate where this expansion will be located, other than in the north and south of the current design. In its platform the CAQ had also mentioned the building of two tramway lines, one on Notre Dame St. East connecting it to the Place d’Armes metro. An alternative route would split toward the north at the Radisson station to communicate with the future Anjou station of the Blue Line. The other tramway line would run along the Taschereau Boulevard in the south shore.
The metro should also get expanded, particularly the Blue Line (whose extension has been promised for a long time now) and the Yellow Line (also promised before in many previous campaigns, by various parties), although this wouldn’t be an underground line but an LRT or long tramway running at street level. However, the Pink Line, championed by our Mayor Valerie Plante, is not on the CAQ list.
Besides these more spectacular –and costly– projects, during the campaign, the CAQ also made some more modest promises on the subject, such as improving the train and bus schedules, i.e., make the damn things run on time! (Any resemblance to Mussolini’s claim that he made trains run on time during his government is just an unintended coincidence).
Concerning infrastructure, the CAQ supports the extension of Highway 19 to Bois-des-Filions, a project already approved by the outgoing government, and the expansion of Highway 13 to connect to Hwy 50. The new government would also expand Highway 30. These investments on highways may indicate that although the CAQ is somehow joining the current trend to promote public transportation, based on well-known environmental and practical considerations, it is not turning its back on those who privilege the private car as their means of transportation.
A controversial issue is, of course, that of immigration: the CAQ has promised to reduce the number of immigrants per year from 50 thousand to 40 thousand. This proposal would undoubtedly unleash heated debates in the whole Montreal region, the preferred destination of most immigrants coming to the province. It could also have a significant and negative impact on the economic performance of the area since immigrants are a vital source of human resources in some local industries.