Driving Regional Economies
The very essence of the Charter for Regions is to support the regions so that they are able to thrive according to their local priorities whether that be the development of natural resources, agriculture, public services, the environment, tourism, etc.
But supporting our regions also means ensuring that the government adequately responds to people’s shared needs within the territory.
The ÉCO Project is our major economic and ecological development project. It aims to create wealth while allowing us to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. It allies our water and hydroelectricity to develop green hydrogen while developing an energy-saving enterprise. It is a societal project that will drive Quebec as a global leader. We estimate that it will represent $100B in public and private investments in the coming years. All of our regions will reap the benefits.
The regions have a lot to offer, particularly in terms of quality of life and community spirit. But for several years, the exodus of young people toward urban centres has negatively impacted for the promotion of these assets. In a context of labour shortages and an aging population, it is more important than ever to seek out new talents. We will therefore establish a new tax credit for the revitalization of resource regions in order to attract young graduates and newcomers there.
If we really want to respond to our labour needs, we must promote the regionalization or immigration. That is why we propose to enter into agreements with all of Quebec’s regions so that they are able to determine their own immigration needs, taking account of the actual needs in all sectors as well as their capacity for welcoming immigrants. In partnership with local stakeholders, we will ensure that regions have the resources and the flexibility required to welcome, integrate and offer French-language training to the workers in question.
For the Quebec Liberal Party, it is clear that we need a real housing strategy, which would deal with access to property, access to affordable housing and access to social housing all at the same time. This strategy would have to be based on support, but we will also need to encourage increases to supply. In such circumstances:
We will give a first right of refusal on available land and encourage the construction of housing units. By doing this, municipalities will be able to purchase certain buildings or land in priority to any other buyer in order to carry out housing projects for the community’s benefit.
We will modernize the Accès-Logis Program to include a regional facet for regional student housing, private residences for seniors and housing for the homeless. This will help support the development of affordable community solutions to the housing crisis.
We also need to ensure the upstream involvement of municipalities when regional public infrastructures, for example a new hospital, are developed. This will help municipalities better plan the housing offer around those projects.
Indeed, some municipalities would like to have the latitude to offer incentives to facilitate the construction residential buildings or reasonably priced houses, for example a property tax credit or a grant. However, this right should be regulated, especially for municipalities with a population of 100,000 and a low inoccupancy levels.
We need to have reliable cellular coverage throughout the territory. In order for our regions to be able to develop to their full potential, we need to stop losing the signal. We will do all that we can so that high-speed Internet networks are completed. We cannot afford to make our fellow citizens wait any longer. We must also ensure that we are stimulating innovation to support the deployment of new connection technologies and make free Wi-Fi available in additional public settings. Once we have caught up, we need to look to the future. We can no longer find ourselves at the tail end of the technology parade.
Mobility within the territory is an integral part of its occupancy. To ensure this mobility, we need to take action on all fronts. We need to facilitate transportation within a given region, from one region to another and toward the National Capital region or the metropolis. To achieve this while supporting local initiatives, we need to ensure that we have a real vision and enhanced coordination of interregional transportation. That is why we are committed to ensuring reliable, accessible service via coach, plane and ferry for all of Quebec’s regions. To do so, we will:
Review the funding methods and regulation of bus transportation with the regions and the companies involved to ensure better service as well as increased frequency and reliability;
Continue efforts to reduce air transportation fees by imposing a maximum fee for users;
Establish a call for tenders’ system to maintain essential air services in case of service disruptions;
Make access to all ferries free for Quebec residents.
A support program to report the regional taxi industry that serves the territories where sustainable mobility alternatives are limited will also be established to mitigate the negative impacts of the CAQ’s reform of the taxi industry.
Transportation being one of the most significant GHG emitters, we need to intensify our efforts to transform transportation throughout the territory. To do so we will accelerate the deployment of electric charging stations outside of metropolitan areas. We will also work alongside the regions to intensify the development of public transportation.
However, that does not mean that we need to abandon our roads, which need to be well maintained. It’s a question of safety. And yet, several of the projects announced by the Ministry of Transport will never come to be. We are proposing that each announced regional road rehabilitation project must be completed within a maximum of four years. We must ensure that projects come to fruition once they are announced and have dedicated funding.
To support our regions’ economic development, we will complete the Route Verte, we will continue our effort to make the shoulders safer on roads used by cyclists and we will intensify our efforts to make infrastructures safer for off-road vehicles. This will help us to support the recreational and tourism sectors while promoting user safety.