François Legault tries to make amends with mayors at the Conference of the Union of Municipalities of Quebec

In front of municipal elected officials gathered Thursday in Montreal as part of the Conference of the Union of Municipalities of Quebec (UMQ), François Legault tried to make amends for having criticized the mayors for “questing” his government. However, the Prime Minister had no new concrete measures to announce to the municipalities which have been asking for additional funds for public transport for months.

“I know there’s an elephant in the room. I want to tell you that I am not here to seek applause and I am no longer going to use that word,” said François Legault from the outset in his speech delivered at the opening of the Conference on Thursday morning.

“As my friend Bruno Marchand would say [maire de Québec], today, I think it is “time for peace”. »

The Prime Minister, however, insisted on the financial constraints facing his government and on the need to respect taxpayers’ ability to pay to explain why Quebec cannot meet all the pressing demands of cities, particularly in terms of public transport and dwelling.

François Legault, however, maintained that the renewal of the agreement with Ottawa on infrastructure financing linked to the federal excise tax on gasoline was about to be concluded.

Last month, Mr. Legault criticized mayors for taking the easy way out by turning to his government to “beg” for funding for public transportation rather than cleaning up their own management.

Shortly after the Prime Minister’s speech, the president of the UMQ and mayor of Varennes, Martin Damphousse, said he accepted Mr. Legault’s apologies. “He mentioned it in front of everyone that the choice of words he made some time ago was inappropriate. He apologized for it. Honestly, we’re turning the page. He said it: we work for the same people. »

The UMQ Conference, which takes place Thursday and Friday at the Palais des congrès in Montreal, brings together some 1,700 participants.

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