CAQ accuses Liberals of foot-dragging in helping flood victims
Published Tuesday, February 13, 2018 12:34PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 13, 2018 7:39PM EST
The Coalition Avenir Quebec is accusing the provincial government of dragging its feet in compensating flood victims.
The opposition party filed a Freedom of Information request to get data about the claims, which it said shows about eight per cent of last spring's flood victims have had their claims processed.
There were 6,070 claims made in 2017 following the flooding, and 452 have been completed.
Francois Legault said that number is unacceptable and he is calling on Premier Philippe Couillard to get involved.
"Mr. Couillard went there with big boots and said, ‘Hey, I'm taking care of that personally,’ but it's about time that Mr. Couillard gets involved in this major problem. These people have suffered a lot of stress. They lost, many cases, their house, they still live at the hotel in some other cases. Come on! What is Mr. Couillard doing after a year?" said Legault.
“To say that 92 per cent are not settled after a year, come on, it's only a question of simple and good management,” said Legault. “Come on, you have 6,000 people. It's not a million, it's 6,000. So how come after a year, most of them are not settled. It doesn't make sense.”
The Public Security Ministry said that the CAQ's figures are misleading.
Under the current system individuals who make claims are only compensated after they have spent money on repairs, and in many cases those repairs -- such as to landscaping -- will only happen this spring and summer.
The Ministry has handed out more than $100 million to flood victims and said that most dossiers are almost completely processed.
“100 per cent of people who have applied for the program already received some form of financial compensation. So 100 per cent have received something. Now in some cases there are more works to do,” said Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux.
Scores of families are still living in hotels because their homes are too damaged to be habitable, and some will never be able to return because the risk of flooding is too high.
“I've been in a hotel for the last nine months,” said flood victim Vasiliki Petrisi, who said the government is not offering enough for her Pierrefonds property. “A huge amount is going to pay off the mortgage that doesn't leave a lot for us to start again. We already had established a home a place for our retirement, and according to them it's not going to be anymore.”
In the greater Montreal region there were 1,026 claims, with 89 files finished.
Pierrefonds-Roxboro Mayor Jim Beis says spring is just around the corner and last year's disaster should have been settled by now.
“It's too long. And anyone who says it's not too long is wrong. Because it's been almost a year and we still have cases that are still outstanding,” he said.
Coiteux said in December that the scope of the disaster was quite large and it demonstrated that the system had to change to speed up payments.
The simplified disaster compensation plan is due to be released this month.