Economic recovery should not come at the expense of ecosystems and biological diversity, according to a hundred environmental organizations, unions and academics. Several of these groups, including Équiterre, the David Suzuki Foundation and the Center québécois du droit de l’environnement (CQDE), are scheduled to testify in parliamentary committee on Tuesday, during the second day of hearings on the Legault government’s omnibus bill .
These groups believe that Quebec should hire more public servants to ensure a sustainable recovery instead of relaxing the environmental rules. The joint press release is also signed by the president of the Quebec Federation of Workers (FTQ), Daniel Boyer, and the president of the Confederation of National Trade Unions (CSN), Jacques Létourneau, who both severely criticized the draft caquist law Monday.
“Well done, you broke all the records,” said Boyer in the parliamentary committee, after indicating that he had only received his invitation to testify on Friday afternoon.
“A big 7:58 working week to prepare an adequate response,” he added.
This voluminous economic recovery bill aims to accelerate 202 infrastructure projects across Quebec – Seniors’ homes, CHSLDs, hospitals, elementary or secondary schools, road repairs and public transportation projects – to stimulate Quebec economy hit hard by the pandemic. The government wants to adopt it by the end of parliamentary business Friday, a week and a half after tabling it.
“I said it on deposit day, there is no question of gagging, there is no question of the government imposing this bill,” said Prime Minister François Legault at a press conference on Monday. What I want is to improve it with the opposition parties, for the benefit of all Quebecers and Quebec. “
“We are able, in the coming weeks, to put some of the unemployed Quebecers to work,” he continued. He said he intended to meet “all environmental requirements” in “shorter time frames.”
However, economic recovery must not rest solely on the construction sector, according to the FTQ. The CSN is concerned about the expanded powers that the government would have.
“The infrastructure dimension for us, that goes without saying, but it is clear that we believe that maintaining the health emergency, that giving extraordinary powers to the government instead of modifying regulations, laws, for us , that does not pass, affirmed Mr. Létourneau, during his testimony.
Outside, a few hundred protesters claiming to be part of the Freedom for Freedom movement gathered in the National Assembly to denounce this bill, which they consider to be liberticide, as well as the wearing of a mask and the recommended physical distancing measures. by Public Health.
The opposition parties deplored the absence, during the consultations, of the Auditor General and the Barreau du Québec, who were unable to free themselves to participate in the hearings because of the tight schedule.
The former director of the City of Montreal Police Service and current Inspector General of the City of Saint-Jérôme, Jacques Duchesneau, was added to the parliamentary committee’s schedule on Tuesday. The Liberals also asked to hear the former deputy chief prosecutor of the Charbonneau commission and first inspector general of the City of Montreal, Me Denis Gallant, who has been very critical of Bill 61 in the media.
“The guy who can generate the most constructive amendments to this bill, the CAQ refuses to hear it,” said Liberal MP Gaétan Barrette.
M’s successore Gallant at the Office of the Inspector General of the City of Montreal, Me Brigitte Bishop was also added to the schedule on Tuesday. Discussions are underway between the opposition parties and the government to allow members to hear the testimony of the Auditor General, Guylaine Leclerc, and the Barreau du Québec.
Opposition parties fear that section 50 of the bill will lead to abuses similar to those exposed during the Charbonneau commission. This section would allow the government to derogate from the Act respecting contracting by public bodies to enter into over-the-counter contracts. He would no longer have to abide by the lowest bidder rule.