HUNTINGDON POLITICAL DEBATE IN REPLAY
This debate was organized by the Corporation de développement communautaire du Haut-St-Laurent, in collaboration with the Corporation de développement communautaire des Jardins de Napierville, the Chambre de commerce et d'industrie Beauharnois-Valleyfield-Haut-Saint-Laurent and the Syndicat de l’UPA Haut-St-Laurent. On September 2022, all candidates were asked to give their solutions on issues that are specific to our community, the Huntingdon district, in order to help voters to make a decision on the provincial election date.
*The event was held mostly in French.
Only biographies that were available in English on the web are translated here. Candidates are invited to send us their official biographies in English. Readers are welcome to use free online translater to get to know their candidates in the meantime.
To all parties represented at the Chamber, we submitted complementary questions that we received from citizens and partners. All answers that we received are here, even those received from candidates who couldn’t take part in our debate as the organization wants to know their point of view in order to allow the population to make an informed choice.
THE COMPLEMENTARY QUESTIONS
In a context where agricultural inputs (livestock feed, fertilizers, fuel, equipment, etc.) and interest rates are increasing, Quebec agricultural businesses are being asked to:
- Contribute more to food self-sufficiency;
- To be ever more competitive, while meeting growing societal expectations (animal welfare, environmental protection, health food, etc.) to which the State often responds by adopting laws and regulations that increase the administrative burden on businesses;
- Adapt to climate change;
- Seize all market opportunities here and abroad, including the emerging global food shortage.
The support to achieve all of these goals is simply not there. Farmers must also be able to count on programs that allow them to manage the risks inherent in their business and to get through crises (in particular major weather events due to climate change, crises linked to the geopolitical context, health crises leading to market shutdowns, etc).
These programs must be:
- Adapted to production and market conditions;
- Permanent and accessible to all (as opposed to ministerial initiatives, considered as “lottery-programs”);
- Designed to be administratively simple;
- Defined so that the support offered benefits to agricultural businesses rather than being diluted among all the consultants to be hired to build the case and apply on the programs.
Do you and your Party commit to making up for the 10-year delay and thus increasing MAPAQ's annual budget by 50% ($500 million), quickly paying special assistance to agricultural businesses, updating and indexing the risk management and to support new solutions: create an incentive program for automation and the implementation of new technologies?
There are many challenges related to planning an agricultural succession: access to capital, cost of land acquisition, unsuitable support programs, access to training, access to maternity and parental benefits, etc.
The next generation of farmers, whether related or not, remains essential to ensure rural vitality and the sustainability of the food pantry of Quebecers. Taking over an existing farm or starting a new business means devoting many hours each day and each week to managing and working on the business, very often also combining paid employment outside to make ends meet, without forgetting the founding of a young family and all that is involved in the birth and education of children.
Do you and your Party agree to adopt and implement the Succession Plan which proposes in particular:
- The establishment of a patient capital fund capable of bearing high risk (long-term loans that can be spread over 40 years with low, fixed interest rates and whose initial investment would be guaranteed by the government )?
- The improvement of assistance for the next generation by offering a financial support program for the next generation with twice as much subsidies and by abolishing the distinctions between part-time and full-time establishment in the company, currently based on the number of hours what does an off-farm job entail?
- To save a seat for representatives of the next generation of farmers in all the decision-making spheres that concern them?
- The adoption of tax measures favoring the transfer of a business to the successor rather than its dismantling?
- The adoption of an anti-speculation law aimed at prohibiting the purchase of agricultural land by investment companies and real estate developers?
- Adapting maternity and parental benefit programs to the reality of young farmers?
While some 9,500 hectares of land have lost their agricultural vocation to urban sprawl over the past 5 years, agricultural producers have long since adopted new practices that are more respectful of the environment (reduced tillage, planting cover crops, development of riparian strips and windbreak hedges, agro-environmental fertilization plan, crop rotation, manure storage structure, creation of a center of excellence in integrated pest management, etc.) in order to reduce the risks associated with agricultural and forestry activities.
Closer to home, in Montérégie, let's think about the initiatives offered by the implementation of the Alus Montérégie and AgrEAUenvironmental scholarships programs.
The Quebec government supports agri-environmental initiatives, in particular through the Prime-vert program, but this support is insufficient. In the United States, direct support for agri-environmental initiatives represents about 1% of farm cash receipts. In Quebec, this annual assistance is currently approximately $45 million, or 0.4% of farm cash receipts (2021 baseline).
Amendments have recently been made to the Agricultural Operations Regulation (REA) to improve certain conditions, for example, the fact of being able to now cultivate the area of land from which a rock wall or an unused building has been removed, etc. However, certain legislative and regulatory irritants remain within the REA and unreasonably hamper the profitability of the agricultural sector and the achievement of its full potential, in particular:
- The moratorium on the cultivation of new areas;
- The calendar of manure and slurry spreading dates;
Do you and your Party commit to:
- End the moratorium on the cultivation of new areas (so that producers can reasonably increase their areas, with guidelines for doing so – it is not a question of giving carte blanche to raze forests or destroy sensitive environments )
- Revise the REA, in particular its calendar of spreading dates, taking into account advances in agronomic science in the management of fertilizers and changing climatic conditions?
- Ensure stable and adequate funding: increase to $100 million per year, for a period of 10 years, direct assistance for agri-environmental initiatives?
- Broaden the encouragement of good practices: reward producers for developments made to protect natural environments and biodiversity, in particular for developments required within the coasts?
In your opinion, what should be the place of community organizations in our society? Which sector should it be associated with? And, how do you plan to help them do their job while reducing bureaucratic burdens?
What do you plan to do to improve access to CPE/daycare places and to better integrate children with special needs?
Knowing that the indexed sustainable income in rural areas of Quebec is at least $25,000/year after taxes for a single person and that according to the most recent data, the median income of all households was $29,731 for Jardins-de-Napierville and $25,069 for Haut-Saint-Laurent, what structural measure do you propose to low-income families in order to help them cope with rising prices?
What actions will you take to ensure economic, political and social equality for Quebec women?
What do you plan to do to stimulate the local economy and curb inflation as recession looms?
What actions do you propose to do in order to help our local businesses go green and boost synergies to promote sustainable development and the circular economy?
Knowing that global warming is currently the most important issue, what are candidates proposing to address the current climate crisis, in particular by strengthening the protection of agricultural land and putting forward tree planting projects in provincial roadsides that criss-cross the Haut-Saint-Laurent territory?
The population is worried about the practice of backfilling deposits, what do you intend to do about this concerning practice?
Given the local history with water quality (Mercier lagoons, municipal spills, sewage sludge) what do you propose to protect and improve the quality of our communities water supplying?
Despite its large area, the riding of Huntingdon has very few cultural venues: performance halls/theatres, exhibition halls, artists' studios, etc. Does your party plan to contribute to the establishment of cultural venues to support our local artists and thus increase the cultural offer, the development of the cultural economy and the development of tourism in our territory? If yes, how ?
Does your party plan to extend the deadlines of the current cultural agreements which have been delayed by covid-19, and which jeopardize the realization or the finalization of several cultural projects?
Following the amendments made to the Cultural Heritage Act on April 1, 2021, MRCs and municipalities must adopt and periodically update an inventory of buildings that have heritage value by April 1, 2026. Although the Ministry (MCC) has mentioned that a framework would be provided as of how to carry out the said inventory in order to ensure uniformity in Quebec, no guide has been provided yet. In order to meet their obligations before the deadline, can RCMs and municipalities expect to receive, in 2023, the specific compliance instructions that will be required?
In the past year, initiatives have been set up in the Haut-Saint-Laurent to promote public transit, but these are only suitable for a tiny part of the population. What role can you play in this local issue that could really encourage people to use public transport?
What are candidates proposing to restore the Ormstown Barrie Memorial Hospital's vocation as Haut-Saint-Laurent regional hospital. Still related to health, what are candidates proposing to ensure that doctors who have an office in Ormstown are also assigned to be on shifts at the Barrie Memorial Hospital?
FRANÇOIS GAGNON, PARTI CONSERVATEUR DU QUÉBEC
ANSWERS TO COMPLEMENTARY QUESTIONS
Although I am open and attentive to many of those requests, you will understand that as a candidate I cannot commit to increasing the annual budget of MAPAQ by 500M. However, as a representative once elected, I will be able to assert these demands with the government, to be the voice of regional agricultural producers in the National Assembly.
Same as previous question
Same as previous question, though overall I agree.
A more important place and above all more recognized. To all sectors of activity. For bureaucratic heaviness, this is one of the key elements of our program, that is to say, to reduce it considerably throughout the government. When the state must act for its citizens, resources and decision-making power are delegated as close as possible to organizations close to the beneficiaries. This is what true recognition of community organizations should be.
Without in any way questioning the CPEs, we are proposing a 3rd category of daycare, with a family allowance of $200/child/week as many needs are not currently being met, the waiting lists clearly showing this.
- Increase the basic personal exemption from personal income tax to $20,000
- Abolition of the QST on all used goods
- Suspension of the collection of the provincial gas tax.
I will respond directly.
With regard to inflation and the recession, reductions in personal income tax, the suspension of the gas tax, the abolition of the collection of the QST on used products and other measures are likely to stimulate the local economy. It is about rebalancing and allowing the taxpayers' purchasing power to be recovered so that their income is exhausted after paying for housing or the mortgage, food and some other expenses.
The cities of Beauharnois, Salaberry-de-Valleyfield and the Haut-Saint-Laurent region do not have the same characteristics, the latter being rural and actions must be taken in accordance with the reality of each.
Promoting assistance to businesses...within the means of the government, which has a bad habit of shoveling everything forward. Give real recognition to social economy clusters that can help start businesses aimed at reducing the waste of natural resources. And for private companies, given the important obligations to come, it is quite certain that they cannot do it alone. We need to transition.
The PCQ recognizes the effects of human activity on the global climate but proposes to set realistic targets for reducing GHGs that could be mobilizing. It is possible to continue to grow our economy while respecting the environment, in particular through innovation, sustainable development and the protection of natural environments. Economic growth should not be put in opposition to the environment. This dogma is neither realistic nor logical.
Strengthen the legislation and substantially increase the fines so that these landfilling and backfilling practices lose their lucrative nature, involve the municipalities also with severe fines for work done without a permit, with the limits that this entails, and ensure vigilance at all times in order to put an end to these operations as soon as they become aware of an unusual back and forth.
Municipalities have no choice but to follow government guidelines. However, bringing the distribution services up to standard to ensure drinking water quality is essential. Can municipalities afford it without increasing the tax burden on taxpayers? We must adopt binding measures for the protection of quality and request government assistance for the upgrades imposed. We have to live with the certain neglect over the years.
Definitely. The recent closure of “Le Vieux Sainte-Martine” in the municipality of the same name is pathetic. All this for the transformation of condominiums. Apart from local libraries, cultural centers must take shape but the paperwork must be reduced, which will reduce delays, the official discourse under the 2 available programs speaking of a period of 5 years for file processing, which is incomprehensible. A cultural building (including agricultural heritage), with a performance hall offering programming with local or other artists does not take 5 years before being the subject of a ministerial acceptance letter.
Yes, unequivocally. Crisis management is not the responsibility of the PCQ, but of the CAQ.
Certainly. Currently, many municipalities are confused about who is responsible for the census. To MRCs or municipalities? One thing is certain, this generates additional costs for each of these latter entities (assignment of labour, in particular).
And yes, we need to receive clear instructions (guide or other) regarding who does what. And any legal obligation that is the subject of vagueness is likely to be postponed without penalty as long as the obligations are well defined.
There are 2 recent models of public transport in the MRC. The new one, which dates back about a year and a half, took shape in the midst of a pandemic when schools and a multitude of businesses were closed. I say that it receives positive and negative comments. Despite the traffic statistics which seem to have improved substantially, there are certainly difficulties and this must be evaluated with good comparisons. It is up to the elected representatives of the Regional Council to analyze everything and....in the whole debate on public transport, it will be a deputy to organize to obtain financial assistance. People's ability to pay has reached its limit.
The Barrie Memorial is the perfect example of what the PCQ offers. Formerly private, the echoes heard are unanimous in saying that it worked much better when it was the case. Today public in the health network, I hear people tell me that you need an authorization to buy a pencil! With the PCQ it can go private again or be kept public with a facility manager and as to the question below of course it will be up to the facility and determine their level of service at the '' clientele'', the patient becoming a client. I am 200% in favor of reopening.
Answer to the previous question.
CAROLE MALLETTE, COALITION AVENIR QUÉBEC
ANSWERS TO COMPLEMENTARY QUESTIONS
First, we must remember that the last mandate of the CAQ government was an exceptional period in agriculture. The results speak for themselves:
- Quebec recorded 461 new agricultural businesses while several provinces recorded a decline during the same period.
- Cultivated areas increased by 3746 hectares.
- Organic production has more than doubled in Quebec, with more than 114,000 hectares today. We are the first in Canada!
In agriculture, we want to develop our food autonomy. We want to promote products from our regions. We will also support the next generation of farmers and help them to be eco-responsible.
We are going to invest an additional $175 million in food self-sufficiency in Quebec. The Prime Minister even came to make the announcement in our riding. We want to robotize food processing and increase agricultural productivity.
We want to invest $50 million in sustainable agriculture to accelerate the adoption of eco-responsible agricultural practices. This will encourage 1,225 additional companies to adopt good agri-environmental practices and reward agricultural producers whose practices are already exemplary.
We will add $50 million to help the next generation acquire farmland.
We will make contributions to the UPA more equitable in order to support small producers and those starting up.
We propose the AgrÉcoles Program to bring together young people and the agri-food sector. We will offer the program to schools that want it.
We want to add $50 million to help the next generation acquire farmland. We want to support young producers and give them the chance to succeed.
One thing is certain, our young farmers certainly do not need new orange taxes, as QS is proposing.
Regarding the purchase of agricultural land by investment companies and stakeholders in the real estate sector, the government does have the right by articles 66 and 96 to make a decree. This possibility has existed for a very long time (Jean Garon 1978).
My colleague Minister of Agriculture, André Lamontagne, had it written into law that when the government uses this decree:
- It has to go through the Minister of Agriculture;
- There must be equal quality ground compensation;
- There must be financial compensation.
We are a nationalist party that advocates food autonomy, it is obvious that the protection of agricultural territory is a priority for us!
Please refer to the answer of the first question.
Community organizations are very important and I am proud to come from a region where the community is so involved and united.
Last May, the CAQ government announced an investment of $1.1 billion over 5 years in its Government Action Plan for Community Action. This is in addition to $100 million for organizations working in mental health.
As part of this election campaign, we are committed to invest an additional $20 million to support the network of food banks in Quebec.
At the CAQ, we believe in the importance of the community, we have supported organizations like no government has done before us and we will continue to do so.
We will complete the network of daycare services so that each preschool child has access to a place and we will continue the deployment of 4-year-old kindergartens.
We want to ensure that each child has access to a place at a reduced contribution by converting the places currently in the network of non-subsidized private daycares.
Every child deserves to have quality, accessible services.
We want more young people to succeed. In the last 4 years, we hired specialized professionals, we launched a major tutoring program, we improved the detection of students who have difficulties, we offered more extracurricular activities and help with homework.
We offer an inflation shield that includes:
- A 1% reduction in the first two tax brackets as of 2023. Quebecers will save $7.4 billion in taxes over the next mandate and over 10 years, this reduction will reach 2.5%.
- Direct assistance of $600 for people with an annual income of less than $50,000 and $400 for those earning $50,000 to $100,000.
- Increase the maximum amount for assistance for seniors from $411 to $2,000. This will join a total of 1.1 million people aged 70 and over.
- A cap on all government tariffs, so that their increase is limited to 3% or less. If inflation is less than 3%, the rate increase will be lower.
First of all, I am proud to be part of the party that set a record for the number of women candidates and women elected in 2018. In addition, we broke that record this year by presenting 69 women candidates and 56 men candidate.
To ensure economic, political and social equality for Quebec women, we must ensure that each child has a place in daycare. No government has believed in and invested in early childhood services as much as the CAQ. We do it because we listen to the needs of women and parents and want the best for our children.
The CAQ has also done a lot to improve the working conditions of predominantly female trades (teachers, nurses, etc.). We also increased the CNESST budget for pay equity by more than 17%. We have invested nearly $1 billion to fight domestic violence, in addition to creating a specialized court for sexual violence and domestic violence.
There will always be work to done and that is one of the reasons why I am involved with the CAQ, a party that cares a lot for women and will continue to do so.
During the CAQ's first mandate, we put $3 billion a year back into taxpayers' pockets. We will continue to do so.
To help Quebecers deal with inflation, we will lower taxes and cap rates. We will also send direct assistance of $400 to $600 to 6.4 million Quebecers and increase the maximum amount for the support of 1.1 million people aged 70 and over from $411 to $2,000. We offer a real anti-inflation shield
The CAQ is the only party that has made the cost of living a priority for several years.
We have taken strong steps to stimulate the purchase and manufacture of Quebec products. We want to give much greater priority to Quebec companies and Quebec products, which will help develop all of our regions.
All together, we will break this old reflex of buying products or services abroad when local companies, which have the necessary experience and expertise, are able to meet the needs. This is how we make our people work and stimulate our economy.
The environment and the economy are two top priorities for the CAQ. All regions of Quebec have been connected to high-speed Internet, a promise that all previous governments had failed to fulfill for 20 years. It will allow our businesses in the regions to improve their productivity and it will help them go green.
The CAQ has taken many courageous decisions in terms of the environment, in particular to extend the deposit to all single-fill beverage containers, including wine bottles, and also by extending the obligation to recover appliances at the end of life for appliance manufacturers.
In environment protection, we have delivered results rather than giving fine speeches. We have done more in 4 years than previous governments in 15 years.
We have a costed and funded plan - $7.6 billion over 5 years - to fight climate change. We will electrify our economy – transportation, industries, housing – and make Quebec a world leader in the green economy.
The CAQ has made courageous decisions, for example, to reach the target of 17% of protected areas on Quebec territory. We also banned the exploitation of oil and gas under our last government.
We also want to accelerate the green shift in agriculture. We are going to invest $50 million in sustainable agriculture to accelerate the adoption of eco-responsible agricultural practices.
I will talk with the future Minister of the Environment about this problem in order to find a solution adapted to the situation.
It must be said that the CAQ adopted during its last mandate a regulation on the traceability of contaminated soils. This regulation makes it possible to follow the movement of excavated contaminated soils and their place of deposit.
The CAQ is precisely making water protection one of its major commitments in this election campaign. A future CAQ government will create a Blue Fund to protect one of Quebec's greatest assets: our water.
The Blue Fund has a budget of $650 million for the next mandate, partly financed by an increase in royalties from industries that use our water.
It will be used to support existing measures, may improve them and fund new initiatives. The government will thus be more efficient and transparent in its water management.
Culture is the bedrock of our identity. Defending its language and protecting its cultural heritage is vital for the Quebec nation. These are constant priorities for the CAQ.
Never has a government invested so much in culture: in 2022, $1.7 billion will be devoted to it. This is $500 million more than in 2018. This is a major catch-up and it has allowed us to take strong action to promote and make known our culture:
- We made a historic reform of the laws on the status of the artist to better support our creators.
- A minimum of two cultural outings per year have been planned for elementary and secondary school students. This will have a direct impact on the cultural environment of the riding of Huntingdon.
We want to be flexible with municipal partners in the context of cultural development agreements. It is therefore quite possible that some projects will be replaced, revised, canceled or that the deadlines will be revised.
The guide that helps municipalities produce inventories will be available by the end of September.
For us, the future of transport lies in electrification.
Heavy electric vehicles made in Quebec are arriving on our roads: buses, school buses, ambulances, etc.
In 2030, there will be 1.6 million electric vehicles on our roads and the sale of new gas-powered vehicles will be prohibited in 2035. We want to reach 21,500 level 2 charging stations and 2,200 fast charging stations throughout Quebec by here 2026.
Public transit is also obviously part of the solution. According to our last budget as government, public transit projects will amount to $56.5 billion over the next 10 years.
If I am elected on October 3, I promise to discuss the situation at the Barrie Memorial Hospital with the future Minister of Health and to work with him to find the best possible solution.
There is no doubt that the CAQ is the party of the regions. We want to decentralize the health network to the regions to better meet local needs. This is part of the Dubé Health Plan.
In addition, we will create the Votre Santé platform, a single and simplified gateway for all front-line care. It will be available on the Internet and a telephone number will always be accessible.
Finally, we want to accelerate our shift towards home care for seniors with additional investments of $900 million over four years. This measure, combined with the fact that the CAQ passed a law to support and recognize caregivers, will make it possible to offer more care to people in our region and ensure that they stay at home as long as possible.
Je m’engage à parler de la situation avec la direction du CISSS de la Montérégie-Ouest et avec le futur ministre de la Santé pour trouver des pistes de solution.
EMMANUELLE PERRAS, QUÉBEC SOLIDAIRE
ANSWERS TO COMPLEMENTARY QUESTIONS
Unfortunately, we can't make up for those ten years overnight. We will start by increasing the budget for agriculture by investing $200 million per year to support local and sustainable agriculture. We will make historic investments to support the men and women who feed Quebec. That's what we are committing to do at first.
To combat labour shortages and focus on key employment sectors for our environmental transition plan, such as the agricultural sector, we will also create a labour requalification fund with an envelope of $50 million annually to help workers in polluting industries (e.g. petrochemicals) find green jobs in line with their skills. We want to stimulate the recruitment of workers in sectors for the future for Quebec, such as the agricultural sector.
We will also promote automation when necessary, in addition to considering the establishment of a wage premium for workers in the agricultural sector, in order to alleviate the labour shortage.
We will raise the immigration thresholds to between 60,000 and 80,000 immigrants per year to fill the labour shortage in certain industries, including the agricultural sector. To do this, we will set up a committee of experts to give a precise opinion on Quebec's capacity to receive immigrants. We will follow the recommendations of this committee. No more petty politics regarding immigration. We will promote permanent settlement for seasonal foreign farm workers who wish to do so, notably by improving the time it takes to obtain permanent residence.
Finally, to support farmers, Quebec solidaire is committed to improving the social safety net for farmers by reforming the support, financing and income stabilization programs for farmers so that they take into account socio-economic factors and climate risks.
To keep agriculture affordable, Québec solidaire is committed to promoting access to farmland. We will block urban sprawl and urban encroachment on farmland. We will issue land protection rules that are compatible with production on small parcels and the construction of housing for farmers. We will facilitate the development of urban agriculture and production for individual consumption. Also, we will develop public agricultural areas (land trusts) in order to make them available to young farmers.
We will adopt an "anti-speculation law" to prohibit the purchase of agricultural land by private investment funds, such as financial institutions or real estate companies;
We will establish a special public registry to track land transactions in agricultural areas in a fully transparent manner;
To support farmers, Quebec solidaire is committed to improving the social safety net for farmers. We will offer better psychosocial support, in particular by hiring field workers, by helping to counter the shortage of experienced workers and by promoting automation whenever possible.
What we are proposing to farmers on October 3rd is a new and ambitious agricultural policy for Quebec. An agricultural policy to support local and sustainable agriculture, supported by investments of $200 million in new money annually, distributed equitably among the regions. Our agricultural policy will be implemented around three axes: protecting the land, protecting farmers and protecting the future. With this new policy worthy of the 21st century, food autonomy will become the spearhead of our regions' development. The investments will be used, among other things, for:
- The creation of collective food processing infrastructures, including a public network of regional slaughterhouses;
- The improvement of measures provided for in the Sustainable Agriculture Plan to help farmers reduce the use of pesticides and adopt sustainable practices (vegetation of river banks, planting of windbreaks, agricultural biomethanization, etc.);
- The establishment of a public network of independent agronomists to serve farmers in all regions of Quebec;
- The hiring of more field workers to adequately meet the needs of the region;
- The improvement of the support program for the conversion to organic agriculture and the reimbursement of organic certification;
- Support for the development of organic greenhouse production and the expansion of the three-phase electrical network in the region;
- Supporting the development of forest farms to develop non-timber forest products (wild fruits, mushrooms, nuts, etc.);
- Stimulate an awareness of rurality by taking into account socio-communal dimensions.
We consider that community groups play a key role in structuring Quebec's communities. Quebec solidaire is committed to increasing the funding for the mission of autonomous community groups to a sufficient level so that they can fulfill their role. In our riding, these groups complement and supplement the lack of public services and are the result of the commitment and generosity of many volunteers.
In order to offer child care to all children, we will launch a major project to clear the waiting lists (52,000 missing spaces). In our first mandate, we commit to creating 37,000 new spaces.
We will establish micro-child care facilities based on the CPE model.
- Offer emergency funds to parents without a place in a child care centre;
- Make the child care profession more attractive;
- Convert as many unsubsidized private daycares as possible into CPEs or not for profit daycares.
Quebec solidaire proposes to grant a temporary emergency benefit of $870 per month to parents who are unable to find a place for their child in a daycare. The parents who will have access to this program are those who must be temporarily absent from work due to lack of space. This measure will promote the professional development and financial autonomy of women, thus avoiding a regression in the status of women in Quebec. This is a transitional measure that will end when the CPE network is completed.
In order to meet the needs of all children, including those with special needs, it is necessary to make the child care profession more attractive:
- Interns must be paid the same salary as an untrained entry-level educator.
- Employee retention requires improving the working conditions and wages of our educators.
To offer a decent wage to all low-wage earners, Quebec solidaire is committed to raising the minimum wage to $18/hour as soon as we come to power. We plan to continue increasing it so that it allows low-wage earners to escape poverty.
We are also committed to providing financial assistance to small and medium-sized businesses and community organizations with the additional state revenues that this measure will generate with tax revenues.
To allow everyone to live decently, Quebec solidaire is committed to improving social assistance so that it allows all its recipients to cover all their basic needs. We will also set up a pilot project to create a guaranteed annual income program.
To ensure that all Quebecers have access to a decent standard of living when they leave the labour market, Quebec solidaire is committed to creating a universal public pension plan. In order to take into account the unpaid work done mostly by women, we will introduce the notion of a minimum pension in this plan.
In order to ensure that everyone can get around on a daily basis in an affordable manner, Quebec solidaire is committed to reducing public transportation fares by 50% with the objective of making them free in the longer term.
We will ban the use of personnel placement agencies in the health network and reduce their use in other sectors as much as possible, while limiting the abusive use of self-employed status.
In the event of dismissal, we will introduce the notion of mandatory compensation.
To put an end to gender-based wage discrimination, Quebec solidaire is committed to broadening the scope of pay equity law and to improving the timeframes for processing pay equity cases and complaints.
In particular, we will ensure that wages in predominantly female employment sectors are increased to equitably correspond to wages in predominantly male employment sectors with equivalent education or experience. We will support women who want to enter male-dominated jobs and encourage men to enter female-dominated jobs.
To ensure that all government legislation, programs and strategies have a positive impact on all people, Quebec solidaire is committed to establishing a Ministry of Women and Gender Equality and we will consider intersectional and gender-based perspectives in all of our decisions from the beginning of our mandate.
This ministry will provide a global vision of these issues, ensure that all Quebec ministries apply an intersectional gender-based analysis in their activities, and allow for multi-sectoral monitoring of sexual assault, domestic violence, poverty, access to power and all other forms of discrimination.
It is also important to remember that the majority of the workforce in community groups is female and underpaid. Increased funding for community action will help improve the working conditions of many women.
To stimulate local consumption and promote the implementation of a social and circular economy, Québec solidaire is committed to creating a "Made in Québec" certification and a local procurement policy. This policy will aim to support regional SME's through the creation of local distribution centers that facilitate the marketing and distribution of local goods, products and services.
Thus, Quebec solidaire will make it a priority to develop and maintain local businesses.
In order for community action to play its role as a structuring pillar of Quebec's localities, Québec solidaire is committed to increasing funding for the mission of autonomous community groups to a sufficient level. We will stimulate the deployment of resources identified with the social economy, such as cooperatives, NPOs and support resources such as GRTs and CLDs, in all areas of the economy.
Our low-cost intercity public transportation plan will also help revitalize the regions. We will cut transportation costs in half, but we will also invest in new infrastructure. In recent years, not only has there been no progress in terms of public transportation in the riding, but transportation services are in decline. Think of the line that used to connect Huntingdon to Montreal that now stops at the entrance of the riding, in Sainte-Martine. It is time to move forward into a new era!
Our riding has many local initiatives, particularly in the farming sector, to become greener. With regard to agriculture and food, Québec solidaire is committed to implementing a local food purchasing policy in the public sector, including a target of 70% local food and 50% plant-based meals. This policy will include three flagship measures:
- Investments in research and development to promote local food production and consumption,
- Financial support for biofood businesses that produce and market healthy food locally, including reimbursement for organic certification;
- The creation of collective local processing and marketing infrastructure, including a public network of regional slaughterhouses and the establishment of common marketing platforms and community-supported fishing networks dedicated to the institutional environment.
To ensure greater resilience of regional economies, Québec solidaire is committed to implementing a new social contract governing the exploitation and processing of natural resources.
Through this new contract, we will develop a sustainable and responsible industry in relation to the metals needed to produce batteries, from extraction to recycling. We will value local energy production from biomass and other renewable and residual sources. We will also reform the way we use forests by developing tree farms and community forests for multiple uses. Finally, we will set targets for the use of lumber in construction, first by prioritizing the green renovation and restoration of existing buildings, and then by moving towards the construction of new, greener buildings.
To fight climate change, Québec solidaire is committed to adopting a Climate Act to reduce greenhouse gases by at least 50% from 1990 levels by 2030, with a view to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
To protect biodiversity while guaranteeing access to nature for all, Québec solidaire is committed to ensuring that a representative 30% of Québec's territory and its ecological diversity is protected by 2030, particularly in southern Québec. Wildlife corridors will be developed and the St. Lawrence River will be given legal status.
The SÉPAQ network will be expanded, vacant urban land will be subject to an expropriation right linked to the creation of green spaces, and we will adequately protect existing woodlands as well as wetlands and the animals that inhabit them, taking into account citizens' initiatives. We will promote the protection of watercourses while facilitating public access to shorelines maintained in a natural state.
Québec solidaire is committed to increasing the financial and human resources of the Ministry of the Environment for a better control not only of fill deposits, but also for any form of deposits or spills on the land and in ditches, rivers and other bodies of water in the territory. There must also be effective and enforceable financial measures to discourage polluters. Fines must be consistent with our refusal to accept that the situation will continue. It is impossible for municipalities to police all the time, all the people; government support is essential.
During an information evening on the Mercier Lagoons file, and following a consultation of the mayors of the region Québec solidaire impacted by the ecological disaster of the Mercier Lagoons, the QS candidate from Châteauguay, Martin Bécotte, and myself, presented the commitments of Québec solidaire in the Mercier Lagoons file:
In the next mandate deliver the new treatment plant and containment of contaminated water promised by the Liberals and the Coalition avenir Québec in 2018 in collaboration and transparency with the municipalities;
Force the company to dismantle its facilities in order to secure the site;
Make available the data on contamination requested by STOP (Society to Overcome Pollution) and hidden by the government and the Ministry of the Environment;
Intervene with Public Health so that it makes public the analyses and data in its possession, so that it proceeds with a health assessment of the population and with an analysis of the risks for public health of the contamination; Reactivate the legal case between the government and the company, suspended since 2007, in order to obtain compensation for the contamination;
Launch a public commission of inquiry to determine:
- The responsibility of the Quebec government in the file
- Determine whether decontamination using new technologies is still feasible and safe for citizens (25 years after the BAPE report, and recommend an intervention).
- Determine the amount of money that Quebec must pay to the municipalities and the community in compensation for allowing contaminant spills into the water table, the environmental pollution, the economic, ecological and access loss to high quality drinking water as well as the additional expenses and losses for the municipalities and citizens that the contamination has caused.
- Make recommendations to the government to ensure that warning systems and transparency with the public are put in place when contaminants are released into the environment and to prevent similar ecological disasters from happening again.
Locally, the candidates commit to advocating for additional support from the next government once municipalities have costed their request to update drinking water infrastructure and the work to be done before the conclusion of the public inquiry.
Our riding is home to many artists, despite having little infrastructure. We need to support our local cultural workers. One way we will do this is to ensure access to four free cultural outings per year for primary and secondary students. These outings are not luxury: the more students are in contact with culture, the less they drop out and the better their mental health.
We will also work with the community to advance cultural events.
The situation is evolving rapidly: Québec solidaire has been demanding, since the beginning of the pandemic, to discuss policy issues around health measures. Once elected, it is clear that QS will support the already fragile cultural sector, which has been hit like no other by the pandemic.
As with many issues, Québec solidaire recognizes the invaluable contribution of municipalities and RMCs in the area of culture. Québec solidaire will take note of the details of the request and, of course, will act responsibly to accompany the RMCss and municipalities so that they can meet their obligations.
In our GHG Climate Plan, we indicate that we will create, as of 2023, intermunicipal public transit authorities in all regions of Quebec. These boards will work in collaboration with the Regional Transition Councils to develop a sustainable mobility offer on their territory. QS wants to make public transit more accessible by financing a 50% reduction in user fees, but also by investing in existing and new infrastructure.
We will put health back at the forefront. For a strong, attractive and accessible health and social services network, Québec solidaire is committed to placing the CLSCs at the center of its vision of health. We are committed, among other things, to including all essential health services (mental health, public and universal dental insurance (the smile card*)), to offering free and quality services to people with a loss of autonomy or with various functional limitations, to increasing the public health budget and ensuring its independence from political power, etc.
*The "smile card", a reference to Quebec’s medicare card, will cover 100% of dental care costs for young people under 18, social assistance recipients and seniors receiving the guaranteed income supplement. Others who do not fit this profile may be reimbursed for 80% of the cost of cleaning and preventive care, and 60% of the cost of curative care, such as fillings and root canals.
This reality is the result of a disinvestment in public services and a centralization of operations. It can also be seen in Québec solidaire various elementary schools in the riding that struggle to keep their kitchen functional. Québec solidaire wishes to reverse this trend. Also, in order to feed Quebecers with healthy, affordable and local food, Québec solidaire is committed to implementing a local food purchasing policy in the public sector, including a target of 70% local food.
JEAN-CLAUDE POISSANT, PARTI LIBÉRAL DU QUÉBEC
JOSE BRO, PARTI VERT DU QUÉBEC
ANSWERS TO COMPLEMENTARY QUESTIONS
We do not pretend to make up for 10 years of delay, but we will continue to commit to supporting significant subsidies for the production and consumption of certified organic food. These investments of one billion dollars per year will be concentrated around educational programs and financial assistance of several hundred million dollars to farmers to assist in the transition to organic agriculture throughout Quebec.
You know it's important to remember that Quebec has only one organization that represents its agricultural producers. The Union des Producteurs Agricoles (UPA). This monopoly model is unique in Canada and does not exist anywhere else in the world.
This monopoly favours the largest farms with large scales of production or large quantities for export. Quotas imposed by the UPA are too expensive for small farms and farm financing is only given to farmers with large-scale production. We believe that one cannot be achieved without the other. You can't talk about subsidies without putting in place a beneficial ecosystem for all agricultural actors.
According to Union paysanne co-founder Roméo Bouchard, in 1985 the province was 80% self-sufficient, but due to the loss of many small farms under the UPA this figure has dropped considerably to 30%. Another negative factor of the UPA monopoly would be its concentration on the export of subsidized agricultural products (such as pork in Quebec), which also reduces food sovereignty and increases dependence on food imports.
For more details I encourage you to read the document designed and written by the PVQ on environmental issues in Quebec:
It is true that thousands of farmers will retire in the next decade, yet less than a quarter of farm businesses have defined a family succession. The transfer of farm businesses is a crucial issue in Quebec. For us, any succession plan to support local farmers is welcome because, in general, family farms are usually more sustainable than industrial agriculture, because they are not solely motivated by profit.
In Quebec, agricultural land represents only 2% of the province's land mass. This is a major issue for us. Unfortunately, there is a huge demand to rezone agricultural land for residential developments, economic projects, occupation of land by non-farmers, etc.
Construction in forested areas not only reduces the vegetation cover, but also damages the tree roots, which can persist for many years and reduce the chances of tree regrowth.
Agricultural land is mainly dominated by four crops: soya, wheat, rice and maize.
These four crops often require large amounts of chemicals that are harmful to the environment. These crops require more fertiliser to compensate for the greater loss of nutrients, more pesticides due to increased pest problems and require more water than diversified crops due to reduced soil moisture retention.
For more details I encourage you to read the document designed and written by the DMP on environmental issues in Quebec:
-No English translation provided
Il est grand temps d’agir pour protéger ces institutions indispensables pour le Québec. Le Parti Vert du Québec soutient l’idée d’un réinvestissement massif dans le réseau public de garderie. En plus d’offrir l’égalité des chances, les CPE ont donné à des milliers de femmes un accès au marché du travail, stimulant du même coup l’économie. Selon les plus récentes estimations, les CPE auraient permis à 70 000 femmes d’avoir accès à l’emploi, ajoutant 5 milliards au PIB. La modulation des tarifs de garde selon les revenus des parents n’est pas la meilleure façon de financer les CPE. Les précédents gouvernements ont mis sur pied une politique obsessive de déficit zéro, combinée à une phobie de faire augmenter les taux d’imposition. En se concentrant sur le tarif des CPE, le véritable débat n’est pas abordé. Nous devrions nous concentrer sur la responsabilité collective de financer les CPE.
Le Parti Vert du Québec propose :
- Une augmentation des salaires. Cette mesure permettrait de revaloriser les emplois dans le réseau des CPE qui souffre d’un manque de main-d’œuvre.
- L’amélioration des conditions de travail. Les travailleur-euse-s des CPE sont passionné-e-s et assurent une éducation de qualité aux enfants partout à travers le Québec. C’est pourquoi le respect de l’ancienneté, de la semaine de travail, du rôle décisionnel des travailleur-euse-s, l’accès aux congés, la retraite progressive et le fractionnement des congés sont tous des éléments importants.
- Amélioration des services aux enfants. L’accessibilité des services de garderie est une prio- rité pour le Parti Vert. Toutefois, cet élément doit être combiné à un service de qualité. Une augmentation des budgets alloués améliorerait l’accès à des services pour les enfants ayant des besoins particuliers.
- La gratuité des services de garde de qualité pour l’ensemble des familles.
- Retrait des subventions et crédits d’impôt qui avantagent le secteur privé. Les mesures entreprises par le gouvernement ne devraient pas désavantager le secteur public au profit du secteur privé. C’est pourquoi le Parti Vert propose l’abolition des subventions aux garderies privées.
- Assurer le bon déroulement des négociations. La plupart des associations du patronat au Québec négocient de bonne foi et réussissent à s’entendre avec les travailleurs.euses. Cependant, certaines assOciations refusent les ententes nationales et s’entêtent à faire reculer les conditions des travailleurs.euses. Le gouvernement devrait donc avoir un rôle actif dans les négociations et devrait s’assurer de faire avancer les dossiers, en utilisant des sanctions si nécessaire.
The Green Party of Quebec supports a rapid increase in the minimum wage to $20/hour by the spring of 2023. This increase in the minimum wage will be combined with changes to the Labour Code, which will prohibit employers from reducing benefits (coffee breaks, insurance, etc.) to counter the increase in the minimum wage. The minimum wage will also be indexed to inflation.
The Green Party of Quebec proposes to introduce a guaranteed minimum income of $1,200 per month to lift all Quebecers out of poverty. This amount will be increased for people with illnesses or physical or mental disabilities. This programme will eventually replace the social assistance programme. All residents will be eligible without condition. There will also be a work exemption of $600 per month to allow people to work part-time without compromising their access to the program.
The Green Party of Quebec is committed to an eco-socialist vision, which involves protecting the environment while providing quality public services to the population. We are very concerned about social inequalities and the need to build a more just and equitable society.
For the Green Party of Québec, it is imperative to ensure good conditions for workers in Québec. Quebec is lagging behind in the defence of workers' rights and an upgrade is needed to ensure working conditions.
The Green Party of Quebec is proposing a series of measures to enforce various workers' rights:
- Strengthen penalties regarding the employer's duty to ensure a harassment-free workplace.
- Introduce paid family leave in cases of domestic violence.
- Introduce an early retirement plan for workers in physically demanding jobs.
- Improve the accessibility of pension plans for people with disabilities
- Ensure the right to disconnect
- Provide 4 weeks of holiday
- Give workers the right to choose part-time work, without penalty. Part-time (includes minimum wage, vulnerable jobs).
- Provide more protection for vulnerable employees. These are the people most at risk of employer abuse.
- In addition to sick leave, launch an awareness campaign on mental health leave which is increasingly needed.
To stimulate the local economy and curb inflation the Green Party proposes among other things
- Increase taxes on the wealthiest
By increasing the number of tax brackets, by $10,000 instead of $20,000, in order to tax more people who earn more than $120,000 per year. This higher numbeŕ of tiers will allow the state to tax the wealthiest according to the size of their income. The total tax rate (including federal taxes) will not exceed 75%. Those earning less than $100,000 per year are already taxed enough (up to a combined rate of 50%) and will not see any tax increase.
- Increase taxes on large corporations
The Green Party of Quebec proposes to triple provincial taxes on large corporations. On the other hand, the Green Party will not increase taxes on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), will encourage their development, and is committed to encouraging the development through economic incentives (tax cuts, subsidies, etc.) of cooperatives that follow an innovative model that promotes the redistribution and sharing of wealth within their communities.
- Capital Tax on Financial Institutions
The Green Party of Quebec supports a tax of 1.5% per year on the capital of financial institutions. This tax would generate more than $500 million per year and will be used to fund free education, from daycare to university.
- Fight for the renegotiation of trade agreements
The Green Party of Quebec supports the renegotiation of many of these agreements to protect local businesses, the circular economy, local food and the environmental realities of our time. We also support measures to encourage ethical trade; we believe that trade and political relationships cannot be treated separately. Government must respect its own principles when trading.
For more details see our economic programme at: https://pvq.qc.ca/2022/05/04/economie-2/
Au Parti Vert du Québec nous avons de loin le plan le plus ambitieux pour la réduction de CO2 et l’ensemble des GES. Ce plan vise les émissions nettes-zéro d’ici 2035. C’est-à- dire une réduction majeure dans tous les secteurs combinés avec des mesures concrètes pour capter le CO2 incluant le reboisement, la cap- tation des émissions de méthane et l’interdiction de l’enfouissement des déchets organiques. Ce projet nécessitera des changements majeurs dans nos vies quotidiennes. Il s’agit d’un projet de société que nous sommes fiers de porter. Nous reconnaissons que la transition vers les émissions nettes-zéro devra se faire en collaboration avec tous en respect de la justice sociale et économique.
Nous reconnaissons qu’une transition énergétique rapide nécessitera des investissements importants à court terme. Un gouvernement du Parti Vert du Québec s’engage à dépenser un minimum de 500 milliards de dollars dans un premier mandat pour donner un grand coup de barre dans une transition énergétique rapide, efficace et équitable.
The environment is our legacy to future generations and we have an obligation to leave them a sustainable future. The Green Party of Quebec aims to protect the environment and reduce the consequences of climate change. We seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions drastically, to achieve this we propose a range of solutions, financial levers to change Quebec's lifestyle, while investing in the energy transition.
The Green Party of Quebec supports a sustainable exploitation of our forests by well-paid workers with adequate working conditions, and the nationalization of the forestry industry, including the harvesting, transportation and local transformation of this resource, which would be managed by a new state corporation: Forêts Québec. Nationalization combined with a decline in the industry will allow Quebec to better manage its public forests, guarantee quality jobs for fewer workers, and process more wood locally.
Natural infrastructures are essential to meet the needs of the species inhabiting our Quebec ecosystem. They include primarily wetland networks and forest networks, providing our biodiversity with the ability to thrive in a healthy environment. The Green Party of Quebec is committed to dedicating a minimum of 1% of Quebec's infrastructure budgets to natural infrastructure such as woodland protection, wetlands, urban greening measures and natural wildlife bridges. The construction of bridges with greenery or underpasses will aim to avoid the fragmentation of natural habitats.
The Green Party of Quebec supports subsidy and interest-free loan programs to massively expand solar, geothermal and wind energy technologies in the home to reduce our ecological footprint and promote sustainable development. https://pvq.qc.ca/2022/05/04/environnement-2-2-2/
I have noticed that our region, like some other regions of Quebec, is a dumping ground for waste and contaminants. For the Green Party it is urgent to support the establishment of an environmental police force in Quebec. A new police unit dedicated to environmental investigations. This police unit will have environmental experts, specialized detectives and conventional police officers working together on investigations. This new police force will be governed by a new Environmental Police Act that will provide them with the legal levers necessary to obtain the tools, funding and powers that will be required for their work. https://pvq.qc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/programme_2022_compress-1.pdf
Reusing rainwater is a good way to reduce our environmental footprint and the energy consumption associated with water treatment. Sound stormwater management plays an essential role in flood control. Groundwater is a natural reservoir of stormwater, but with traditional urban development, stormwater is directed into the development, stormwater is being directed into sewers rather than into the water table. The Green Party of Quebec supports the implementation of a national stormwater management policy that takes into account the realities of climate change.
- Establish a significant fund for the control of harmful invasive species and mandate the Ministry of the Environment, in collaboration with watershed organizations, to develop action plans and carry out interventions to combat invasive species that reduce the biodiversity of water bodies.
- Strengthen agricultural inspections and give teeth to the regulations while accompanying farmers towards practices that are less harmful to water bodies.
- More adequately fund reforestation of the banks of lakes and rivers.
- Work with and support NPOs and lake associations to protect the territory.
- Prohibit the drying and destruction of lakes for mining and construction projects.
Ban single-use plastics.
Culture is often perceived as a source of expenditure, when in fact it is an important source of income. We want to make it an important pillar of our economy by giving it the place it deserves. The cultural sector is one of the few that is able to use the funds invested in it efficiently and quickly, at low administrative cost. These investments generally result in an increase in the level of employment. Every dollar invested in culture generates, on average, $2.70 in non- government revenue (Finances of Performing Arts Organizations). So this is a sector with incredible economic potential.
And we are going to work with the various stakeholders and municipal partners to quickly set up meetings to validate current projects and propose future projects that will make it possible to promote the cultural heritage of our riding.
We are going to work with the various stakeholders and municipal partners to quickly set up meetings to validate current projects and propose future projects that will make it possible to promote the cultural heritage of our riding.
To combat these shortcomings, Quebec must invest in public transport. More frequent schedules and more extensive networks. This could even discourage the use of individual vehicles enough to reduce traffic, which would contribute to the reliability of the bus service.
The Green Party of Quebec is strongly opposed to any privatization of our health care system, on the contrary, the public health care system must be celebrated, strengthened and better funded. Especially institutions like Barrie Memorial Hospital, which has been serving the public for over 75 years.
We believe that all Quebecers should have access to quality, timely and free services. Citizens' wallets should not be a limit in the accessibility of health care in the province. The development of a parallel private system only benefits the richest, to the detriment of the poorest and the middle class. Equal opportunity and universal access to health care must be protected. Nor, contrary to popular belief, would privatisation reduce funding; rather, all countries that privately fund their health care show an increase in costs. Indeed, countries that finance their care through the public sector use 2-5% (3% in Quebec) of the total to administer the system. In the private sector, these figures rise to 10 to 15%.
Information available on this page is updated as soon as we receive the information by candidates. All candidates that were at the debate are listed in alphabetical order. Replies to our complementary questions follow.