Liberal government forces approval of new daycare fees, pharmacist powers
Bill 28 was adopted just before midnight by a vote of 64 to 43, altering dozens of laws in order for the provincial government to balance the budget.
The Couillard government invoked closure Monday to pass Bill 28, legislation which among other things changes the fee structure for public daycares in Quebec.
The bill introduces a sliding-scale daycare fee based on income. Parents will end up being charged a supplemental fee for daycare when they file their 2015 income taxes.
At the top end, a family earning $150,000 per year will pay $20/day to have a child in a CPE, while parents who earn less than $50,000 will pay only the current rate of $7.30/day.
Bill 28 also affects how pharmacists are paid, and will close Local Development Centres (CLD) throughout the province.
The legislation grants new powers to pharmacists, allowing them to renew prescriptions for certain medication without a patient visiting a doctor.
Government House Leader Jean-Marc Fournier said the opposition parties were being deliberately obstructionist in blocking parts of Bill 28 even when they admitted certain portions of the legislation were necessary.
He added that ramming the bill through the National Assembly was necessary because modifying daycare fees is a necessary deficit reduction tactic which could no longer wait.
"To your neighbour and my neighbour, what do we say to them. You say you know we are for a zero deficit, but the opposition didn't want it so we will not do it," said Fournier rhetorically.
Quebec Solidaire leader Francoise David said this was the fourth time she's seen a governmen invoke closure, and she was not pleased with the process.
"Quebec Solidaire doesn't say it's not a good thing to have a zero deficit. The thing is what price will we pay to obtain that so rapidly," said David.
"The price is too high."
This will be the second time the year-old Liberal government uses the parliamentary measure designed to end debate and force a vote on legislation.
It's the second time this session the Liberals are invoking closure. The first time was in February when the House was recalled in order to pass Bill 10, legislation that altered healthcare.
According to a study done by the National Assembly archives, over the past three decades the Liberals have been in power for 19 years and invoked closure 79 times.
The Parti Quebecois was in power for 11 years in the past 30, and used closure 70 times -- most notably by Premier Lucien Bouchard's government of the late 90s, which used its power to stifle debate 53 times.