Bill 66: softer and less sprawling version of 61
President of the Treasury Board Sonia LeBel
Share September 23, 2020 10:38 am Updated at 5:52 pm Share Bill 66: softer and less sprawling version of 61
Olivier Bossé Le Soleil With her new Bill 66 “concerning the acceleration of certain infrastructure projects”, Sonia LeBel tabled on Wednesday a softer and less sprawling version of Bill 61, which had hit a wall of parliamentary opposition and popular.
“Bill 66 is more targeted. The measures that are included are temporary. They specifically concern the projects which are annexed in a closed list. The possibility that existed to add more is no longer there. We managed to take into account all the comments, to put forward all the concerns that were expressed during the previous filing and to find the right balance between acceleration and rigorous control ”, expressed the Minister responsible for the Administration. government and President of the Treasury Board, at a press briefing, three hours after the official tabling of this new bill in the National Assembly of Quebec.
Bill 66 is version 2.0 of Bill 61 tabled at the end of the last parliamentary session in June. This first version had met a barrage of criticism from all the opposition parties, but also from several experts and many citizens.
The new Bill 66 no longer implies an extension of the state of health emergency or immunity to ministers under the law, among others. It also endows the Public Markets Authority (AMP) with new powers of surveillance and intervention with subcontractors. But these new powers only apply to the 181 projects listed in the bill, says LeBel.
21 projects already advanced
A list that melted under the summer sun from 202 to 181 projects. Did the 21 projects removed from the list suddenly become less urgent?
“We still didn't sit on our two hands for three months. We have made progress and advance several infrastructure projects despite everything. There are those who have started or whose tenders are launched, or contracts signed. The measures established in Bill 66 ensure that these projects would not benefit from an acceleration, but they are really well advanced in the implementation process. So not only have they not been abandoned, but I would tell you that they are even further ahead than the 181 that remain in the bill, ”explains Minister LeBel.
Bill 61 was therefore perhaps not as crucial for each of the 202 projects on the initial list as claimed by his predecessor as President of the Conseil du trésor, Christian Dubé, now Minister of Health and Social Services. .
Not closed to negotiations
While in the first version, the government still retained the right to add projects, the current list of 181 projects is closed and will be fixed as soon as the bill is passed.
“No regulatory delegation, no decision will be taken subsequently. What we are proposing is entirely on the table and will be ready to be discussed in parliamentary committee. Thus, everything is well defined, circumscribed, precise, framed within the bill. One of the concerns of environmental groups was to know what was potentially behind this enabling power. Now it's defined, ”continues Ms. LeBel.
Which, however, does not close the door to negotiations with the opposition parties to revise the said list. “I would be very surprised if we added projects, but we must give ourselves the space to discuss,” she said.
The general idea of the bill is to reduce delays for infrastructure construction projects of all kinds, while avoiding circumvention of environmental and other rules and controls.
Two projects in the lot would still be exempt from a Public Hearings Office on the Environment (BAPE), namely the redevelopment of Highway 30, between Brossard and Boucherville, and Highway 117, between Labelle and Rivière-Rouge. . We would be talking about saving 20 months of time in the entire process.
“CAQ list of electors”
In the opposition, we are delighted to see that “we were right to block the first version,” notes the parliamentary leader and the Parti Québécois spokesperson for economics and ethics, Martin Ouellet. Mr. Ouellet wonders, however, why the new powers of the AMP are not extended beyond the 181 projects in question and still contests the very content of the list, which he continues to qualify as a “hoax” and a “list. election of the commitments of the CAQ ”.
Québec solidaire still says it is incapable of “supporting this bill in its current form”. “The Legault government will have to demonstrate that it does not intend to attack our natural environments to accelerate the construction of highways”, declares Vincent Marissal, responsible for solidarity in matters of economic and fiscal justice. QS also requires the government to consult with Indigenous leaders in the process.
Environmental groups deplore for their part “that it still presents respect for environmental requirements as an obstacle to recovery”, we can read in a joint press release signed by the directors of Equiterre, of the Quebec component of the David Foundation. Suzuki, the National Group of Regional Environmental Councils of Quebec, the Center québécois du droit de l'environnement, Nature Quebec, Greenpeace Canada and SNAP Quebec.
Environmentalists propose that the bill be amended to ensure that “a project is exempted from environmental requirements only in an exceptional way”, which is no longer the case for low or moderate risk projects.
More than a quarter of the 181 projects concern the construction of the 47 Seniors Homes. There are also the construction or renovation of 35 schools. Roads, hospitals and public transport infrastructure make up the other half of the list.
LIST OF PROJECTS BY REGION
- Reconstruction of the Île-d'Orléans bridge between Quebec and Île-d'Orléans
- Major repair – Youville parking lot
- Construction of a new secondary school in Charlesbourg
- Construction – Seniors' House – Quebec Sainte-Foy sector
- Construction – Seniors' House – Quebec Lebourgneuf sector
- Construction – Seniors' House – Charlevoix
- Construction – Seniors' House – Portneuf
- Construction of a new CHSLD in Saint-Augustin
- La Malbaie Hospital – Extension and redevelopment
- Extension of Highway 73
- Priority measures for public transit on boulevard Guillaume-Couture in Lévis – Planning
- Rehabilitation and maintenance of assets of the Chemin de fer Québec central, extension of the network operated west of Vallée-Jonction
- Construction – Seniors' House – Lévis Ouest
- Construction – Seniors' House – Black Lake
- Construction – Seniors' home – Saint-Martin-de-Beauce
- Thetford Mines Hospital – Modernization of the emergency room
- Redevelopment of route 293 in the area south of 2nd range (redevelopment of 4 curves) at Notre-Dame-des-Neiges
- Reconstruction of Route 132 and the Arthur-Bergeron Bridge on the Mitis River in Grand-Métis
- Construction – Seniors' House – Rimouski
- Construction of a 4-3-18 elementary school in Rimouski (Lab-École)
- Construction – Seniors' home – Îles-de-la-Madeleine
- Construction – Seniors' home – Rivière-au-Renard
- Expansion and renovation of the Rocher Percé CHSLD in Chandler
- Rehabilitation and reconstruction – Gaspé rail network between Port-Daniel − Gascons and Gaspé
- Construction – Seniors' House – Baie-Comeau
- Construction – Seniors' home – Havre-Saint-Pierre