More powers, not more money, Legault tells cities

(Quebec) François Legault is committed to reforming expropriation law and giving pre-emption to municipalities, but flatly refuses to review taxes for cities that want to get out of the property tax constraints.

Posted at 11:28

Charles Le Cavalier

Charles Le Cavalier

Fanny Levesque

Fanny Levesque

“By the end of the session, we will give you pre-emption on the land in your municipalities. And I will make another commitment: in the next term, we will also adopt a law on expropriation,” the prime minister launched on Thursday during his visit to the Federation of Quebec Municipalities.

Currently, only the City of Montreal has a right of first refusal, allowing it to “purchase certain buildings or land with priority over any other purchaser in order to carry out projects for the benefit of the community.” Several other cities claimed such strength.

As for the expropriation law, the mayors demanded a reform of this law, because at the moment the cities are obliged to compensate the owner for the potential income he could derive from his land, which becomes very expensive for the taxpayer. . In addition, the legal challenge process can impede and slow down projects, especially public transportation. UMQ was pleased with these two promises.

However, the prime minister is ignoring a third historical requirement of municipalities, whose revenue is mainly dependent on one thing, property taxes. And the more a city developed new neighborhoods, the higher its revenue. Many elected officials establish a direct link between this method of taxation and urban sprawl.

No more money

But for François Legault, Quebec does not have the means to give cities a tax room. “Mayors know I’m a straight guy. I’ll be direct. We also have a deficit in Quebec, and our government employees earn 30% less than employees who hold the same positions in municipalities,” Mr. Legault said in front of the hall of elected municipal officials. However, he recently made reference to the promise of tax cuts during the fall election campaign.

Mr. Legault told the mayors that “our taxes and our income taxes are in the ceiling” and that they are “communication ships.” However, he says he is “open to suggestions”.

François Legault also addressed the debate between urban sprawl and densification. Transport Minister Francois Bonardel has been criticized for claiming that densification was a “fashion”. However, as written Journalism This morning in his book Heading to win QuebecPublished in 2013, François Legault denounced the disadvantages of urban sprawl, favored the rehabilitation of polluted city lands rather than the fragmentation of farmland and advocated the conversion of highways into urban streets.

Mr. Legault referred to it in his speech. “It is important, yes, to densify our cities, to reduce urban sprawl, and one way to do that is to clear the land that is in our cities. For me, it’s a priority.

Legault defends the third link

At the same time, he defended the highway tunnel project between Quebec and Levis. Une partie va se faire avec la densification à Québec, mais il va falloir mettre ces gens-là un peu partout, et il va falloir s’assurer que l’on continue de développer Chaudière -Appalaches et les régions », at- says.

He also dedicated a well-prepared speech to Quebec Mayor Bruno Marchand, who the day before accused his government of delivering a “populist” and “misleading” rhetoric about urban sprawl, linked to the regions’ economic development.

Legault paid tribute to former Quebec City Mayor Regis Labomme, “historian Journalism “Basically, it was easy working with you, Regis,” he said. “He wants to “develop an unconditional friendship” with Mr. Marchand, and promises to “intensify” his relationship with him.

Opposition to Marchand’s defense

Photo Yan Doublet, The Sun

Bruno Marchand

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

“I think he said out loud what everyone calmly thought and I think the government’s populism, is on several topics,” launched Party Quebec leader Paul Saint-Pierre of Blamondon, who praised the “courage” of many of the new mayors who have publicly denounced Legault’s government.

“In Quebec politics, we always say that mayors hold on to power, and they will remain silent to try to get what they need for their city. But at the moment, the government’s statements and directives are so misleading and so far from reality that there are mayors who have enough sense of responsibility to get the facts right,” added on Thursday.

For his part, Andres Fontesilla, Quebec Solidere MNA, noted “the essential role [en matière] The opposition “is played by the municipalities.

“We see that the opposition is growing in Quebec [devant] This is the arrogance of Legault’s government that believes that science is inculcated. Usually, the municipalities, which are rather very diplomatic with respect to the government there, raise their voices, and dare to publicly oppose the various projects of the Quebec government, which indicates that there is something,” he emphasizes.

For her part, liberal leader Dominique Englade believes a head-to-head clash is brewing between cities and the coalition government of Avenir Quebec on the front lines of the climate change, labor and housing crisis.

“These three elements definitely lead us to a crossroads. She explained that there are important decisions to be taken that the government does not take because we are putting our heads in the sand.

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