Legault and Plante no closer to agreeing on public transit, religious symbols
Published Friday, October 26, 2018 8:21PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 26, 2018 8:36PM EDT
Premier Francois Legault had his first meeting with the Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante Friday, as both tried to see eye-to-eye despite differing views.
The media was invited to watch the mayor and the premier meet at a Notre-Dame St. café, where he sipped an allonge, and she opted for a soy latte.
After the photo op, the two leaders walked to city hall and had what they called a good first meeting.
“We had fun, we laughed a lot,” said Plante.
Not much changed, though, as Plante spoke about her signature plan for public transit, the Pink Line. Legault has long said the $6-billion price tag is too high, shifting his priority for Montreal transit to extending the Blue Line and building a tramway linking the east end to downtown.
Legault also outlined his transit plans outside of Montreal.
“We also have to think what we want to do for the 450, as you know, we proposed for the REM to go more north, more south. We also have a project in Quebec City,” said Legault.
Legault said he's not more open to the Pink Line today than he was yesterday – but added that he’ll wait to see feasibility studies.
“I may be open if it's cheaper,” he said.
Plante said she won’t give up on the project.
“I'm happy that we agree on having those studies done, at the same time I will continue to fight for and promote the Pink Line,” she said.
Legault and Plante found some common ground when discussing the east end, where the premier wants to decontaminate waterfront lands and revamp Notre-Dame St.
Though his gaze seemed toward the eastern end of the city, where the CAQ holds its only two seats on the island, he made a point to speak to those in western Montreal.
“I will remind you that I'm from Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue,” he said in English. “My mother is still in Ste-Anne and my government supports the REM in the West Island, so my government is not just giving in the east.”
The mayor and premier didn't make any breakthroughs on another point of contention: religious symbols.
“I think we have the support of the majority of Quebecers in these positions,” he said.
Plante said she would wait to see Legault's draft bill before commenting.
The two promised there will be more meetings in the future.