The president of the treasury Board Christian Dubé
June 11, 2020 10h18
Updated at 14h57
Bill 61: “I’ve moved on all applications,” says Dubé
The Canadian Press
The president of the treasury Board, Christian Dubé, finally folded to the demands of the opposition parties and profoundly his bill 61.
The piece of legislation, which is criticised from all sides last week, aims to accelerate the construction of 202 infrastructure projects.
Appearing before reporters apologetically Thursday morning, Mr. Dubé has admitted that the week had been “occupied” and that he had worked until late in the night from Wednesday to Thursday to find solutions.
“I’ve moved on all the requests,” he said in a press briefing Thursday morning.
He said wanting to change the articles of the draft law, primarily concerning the environment, public procurement and accountability.
The treasurer of the government abandons the idea to extend indefinitely the state of emergency health, several groups who have seen a departure from democracy. He is willing to extend until October 1, 2020.
In terms of the environment, the minister said it would be better to enshrine in the bill the principle of “avoid, minimize, compensate”.
In its current form, the bill would allow a developer to destroy a natural environment for money, without the obligation to demonstrate that it has sought first to avoid and then to minimize impacts.
The controversial article 50 has been rewritten in order to allow the municipalities only to enter into a contract without complying with the standards laid down by the Law on contracts of public bodies.
Article 51, which allowed the government and its ministers to keep away from prosecution, has been completely changed.
In addition, Christian Dubé now provides that ministers prepare a half-yearly report on the progress of projects for which they are responsible, to piggyback on their annual report.
Each infrastructure project added to the list will be the subject of a debate in the national Assembly for three hours, instead of an hour.
Finally, a project may not receive an acceleration measurement during one year after the entry into force of the act, and not two years ago, offers Mr. Dubé.
The day before, the opposition parties and the independent mna Guy Ouellette had issued an ultimatum: either he would re-write the bill, or he is caught in their refusal to adopt it.
Mr. Dubé argued Thursday that Quebec was in need of this bill to shorten the time for the construction of schools, houses of seniors and public transit, among others.
He pleaded with the opposition to give him their “help” to pass the bill 61 by “natural ways” within a short period of time. He said he hoped the adoption of the principle on Thursday.
Dubé admits his wrongs
During his Thursday press briefing, Mr. Dubé was told to take the blame for “a few pieces” he has been able to “escape”.
He explained that he had not realized how much the topics of the environment and public procurement were “sensitive”.
Lack of political experience? he was asked a journalist. “Perhaps,” replied the minister.
“Is there anything I could have done things differently compared to some of the articles? The answer is yes,” he said in English.
“There is the time factor, is it justified. It’s been three months that we are working 18 hours per day, seven days per week. For me, this project is happening to me and he said to me, it is important for recovery, do you want to deal with it?”
In response to the criticism, Mr. Dubé was said to have taken two other commitments: he will introduce legislation this fall to give more powers to the public procurement Authority, and would give a mandate to the auditor general so that it monitors each of the projects included in the bill.
The liberal opposition has rejected on Thursday the proposal of amendments of Mr. Dubé, in describing clearly insufficient.
The leader of the liberal Party of Quebec, Dominique Anglade, has conceded that a step had been taken, but that there remained at least 10 km to go.
According to her, the draft law 61 of the government Legault is at best messy, at worst as an “attempt ill-fated to grant power of fools”.
“It is very far from the cup to her lips, she said during question period. The members in this Room are disappointed.”
According to the co-spokesperson of Québec solidaire, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, the government is “fell in love” with the state of public health emergency. It requires that the article on the renewal of the state of emergency to be removed.
For its part, the parliamentary leader of the Parti québécois, Martin Ouellet, is focused on the changes to section 50, which are ill-advised, according to him, considering the report of the Charbonneau commission.
The prime minister François Legault has said that if the opposition did not vote the principle of the bill on Thursday, they were going to have to explain to their voters.
“We have lost a summer”, he moaned.
The government Legault, who filed his bill 61 after the deadline of may 15, needs the unanimous support of the deputies of the national Assembly.