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Francois Legault turns up empty-handed at Quebec municipalities annual conference

Premier François Legault is warning municipalities: the Quebec government has no room to maneuver at the moment.

Legault was delivering a speech on Friday morning at the annual convention of the Fédération québécoise des municipalités (FQM) in Quebec City.

He appeared before the 2,000 or so participants empty-handed, saying that municipalities should not expect an increase in their funding.

"It's clear that if we're talking about progress, I want to be honest with the rest of you, there's no room for maneuver in Quebec City, and there's no question of raising taxes," he declared.

In a news scrum after Legault's speech, FQM president Jacques Demers pleaded that municipalities were facing a number of new challenges.

However, he said that the important thing was to preserve the gains of the fiscal pact signed in 2019, which notably allows municipalities to receive 1 per cent of the sales tax (QST).

"We're going to see progress in the QST point anyway. Starting this year, it will be $445 million. By 2030, that point will have risen to $1 billion," said Demers.

He was also reassured that the premier reiterated his election promise to provide municipalities with $470 million over four years to support local services such as grocery stores.

Legault also reaffirmed his intention to complete the cellular network by 2026.

On Sept. 14, in an interview with Radio-Canada, his own CAQ MNA Gilles Bélanger expressed doubts that the project would actually go ahead.

As of today, 3,400 public service jobs have been transferred to the regions, according to the premier.


Although no increase in funding is planned, Legault confirmed on Friday that there will be new sums for housing in the economic update to be presented in November.

He also held out the prospect of additional transfers if the government managed to increase electricity production.

"Do we want to continue to develop additional capacity to be able to attract businesses that will create paying jobs, wealth, that will eventually allow us to transfer more money to the municipalities?" asked Legault

He added that he was expecting "not always easy" discussions with the First Nations communities.

Earlier this week, Legault told a journalist that "in most cases," it would take the agreement of the First Nations concerned to build new dams.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Sept. 29, 2023. Top Stories

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