The Quebec Liberal Party will undertake a major cultural transformation within the State by adopting “regional reflexes”, an approach advanced by the Fédération Québécoise des Municipalités. In this way, each time the government has to make a decision, it will need to consider the decision’s impact on regional diversity.
These regional ministers must be held accountable to their fellow citizens, as well as be entrusted with the means to fulfill their mission. Thus, to endow each region with clear power to act, we will establish a secretariat in each region, which will be able to rely on a team of civil servants under the leadership of a deputy minister who is responsible for the region.
So that public administration is accountable to regional stakeholders, it is also important to officially recognize and support the government’s key contacts, those who will interact on a day-to-day basis with the regional secretariats. The rapid abolition of the Conférences Régionales des Élus unfortunately hurt several regions and ecosystems which were built around these organizations. We cannot, however, return to the past or repeat its errors. We are not interested in reshuffling regional structures. The regions have since developed their own regional consultation tools, which we must now recognize.
To that effect, it is a pity to note that the current government has not used the Table Québec-Régions which was established by the Act to advise the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing on issues that affect Quebec’s regions. This refusal to recognize the importance of the consultation mechanism created to take the pulse of the municipalities is unfortunate. That is why the Quebec Liberal Party would mobilize the Table Québec-Régions.
That is why we will undertake a major review of the municipal and land-use planning legislative framework. The complexity and obsolete nature of the current framework make a major overhaul necessary. Quebec’s Municipal Code- whose adoption dates to the 19th century— continues to govern 875 municipalities. There are over 60 laws that municipalities must currently be considered as part of their administration. We will seek to simplify measures, as well as to include previously agreed upon delegations of power with the municipalities.
We have too often seen recent initiatives- for example residential constriction or municipal development projects- which have been constrained by the rigidity of development planning. A review of the legislative framework should include the possibility of asymmetry in the development of particular norms or regulations.
The realities of the Greater Montreal Areas are not those of the Bas-St-Laurent region, for example. We therefore cannot consider the development of the regions in a monolithic manner and must offer local stakeholders more of a say in the process.
Finally, reducing municipalities administrative burden needs to become a concern again. Our local governments need to send less paperwork to Quebec City and offer more services to their citizens.