QUEBEC, Feb. 4 /CNW Telbec/ - In preparation for the Quebec Liberal
Party's 30th Members' Congress, its policy commission has published a working
document which will guide much of the debate at the Congress on March 7, 8
and 9. The document is the result of a vast consultation held across Quebec
last fall, reporting on the findings of three working groups which met more
than 1700 citizens of all political stripes, including 200 mayors.
Policy commission chair Christian Ouellet made the announcement with the
three working group chairs, Pierre Corbeil, Manon Laporte and Marc Tanguay,
each responsible, respectively, for economic and regional development,
sustainable development, and identity and federalism.
"The heart of our proposal today is a new economic project for Quebec,"
said Mr. Ouellet. "As a nation, we must create the means to seize on the
opportunities and meet the challenges facing us. Among these means we want
Quebecers to be the masters of their natural resources, the foremost being
water. We also propose supporting the growth of the active population,
increasing investments in productivity, and promoting the French language and
Quebec's national identity."
Control of water
Among our proposals is a legal framework on water, decreeing the resource
in Quebec the public property of all Quebecers, with the state as trustee. The
economic benefits of its exploitation are to be returned to Quebecers first.
The law would guide different uses of water and institute a levy on its
commercial and industrial use, such as the sale of bottled water.
Proposals will be made to Congress participants regarding the development
and implementation of an integrated plan to support the growth of the active
population. This plan would account for family and birth-rate support, labour
needs, evolution in the status of French, immigration levels and employment
integration for immigrants. A population minister will also be proposed, with
the mandate to prepare and implement this plan.
Major infrastructure campaign
A massive campaign to modernize public water, transport and
communications infrastructure will be proposed. This major construction
project for our regions would constitute a second phase of the $30-billion
Plan québécois sur les infrastructures provinciales. Following such an
initiative, for example, the proportion of Quebecers with access to high-speed
Internet and cellular telephone use - essential tools to regional development
- would climb to 90%.
Growth of the Montreal metro
The Quebec Liberal Party Congress will also consider renewing development
of the Montreal metro. The recommendation proposes 10 additional metro
stations, to connect Laval by extending the orange line beyond the Côte-Vertu
station, and to connect Anjou by extending the blue line beyond the
Saint-Michel station. The metro would also be extended west via a surface
route connecting to Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport, and south across the
Champlain Bridge to the South Shore.
Increased productivity through training
We propose expanding and promoting professional training, apprenticeship
training and retraining by financially encouraging competition between the
services offered by companies in the workplace and those offered by
educational institutions. We also propose letting regional economic
decision-makers choose the duration, content and numbers involved in
professional training offered in their regions.
Charter of the French Language
The Quebec Liberal Party will propose strengthening the role of the
Office québécois de la langue française, particularly by increasing its
funding for regular visits and closer follow-ups on the evolution of the
French face of Montreal's economy, and by hiring more francization counsellors
to guide non-compliant businesses. We also believe that fines should be raised
significantly for businesses that refuse to comply despite being informed and
Fourth working group: family
Christian Ouellet confirmed that a fourth working group on issues that
affect families was created in January and led by Véronique Théorêt, a lawyer
and young mother. "During our wide-reaching consultations last fall, in which
many different needs were expressed, citizens clearly recommended a fourth
group be created to consider family concerns in the future of Quebec," said
This new group's report will be published prior to the Members' Congress
and will be tabled for debate, as with the three other reports, by the
2500 party members meeting in Quebec City to adopt the basis of the Quebec
Liberal Party's next election platform.
"In their effort to offer the best for Quebec, Quebec Liberal Party
Congress members will consider these proposals for a new economic project to
guide Quebec in the 21st century," concluded Christian Ouellet.
For further information:
For further information: Michel Rochette, Director of Communications,
Quebec Liberal Party, (514) 288-4364, 1-800-361-1047