At the Coalition Avenir Quebec’s party convention on Saturday, Premier Legault said his government will force the CDPQ (Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec) to buy trains for the REM (Reseau Express Metropolitain light-rail system) that are made in Quebec – even though the Caisse owns the system and was given the mandate to operate independently and free of political interference in its decisions. He said he never understood why the former Liberal government did not require the Caisse to purchase them from Quebec manufacturers. The project is expected to cost at least $6 billion – and close to half it is being paid with public funds.
“Quebec grants the contracts. It determines the mandates. So, it has every right to require certain special clauses,” said Benoit Charette, the CAQ’s Environment Minister and that there will be a ‘local content requirement’ for the second phase of the REM transit network (they promised to extend the REM to Laval and Chambly, adding close to 40 kilometres to the system). ‘Any infrastructure project related to public transit will now have Quebec content requirements’ he added – and that the made in Quebec trains ‘will be fully compatible with the 212 first-phase cars manufactured at the Alstom plant in southeastern India’. In February of 2018, the CDPQ officially announced that the REM would become a reality – and as most people in the Greater Montrealer area can see by the infrastructure work all over the island, it appears to be well on its way.