Laval PQ candidates emphasize economic development
Jean Cooke (Chomedey), Linda Tousigant (Vimont), François-Gycelain Rocque (Fabre),Suzanne Proulx (Sainte-Rose), Robert Carrier ( Mille-Îles), Léo Bureau-Blouin (Laval-des-Rapides).
While they stand behind their party’s pledges to protect the French language and cleanse corruption from government, Laval’s six Parti Québécois candidates are also promising to take measures to generate wealth and to encourage development of environmentally-sustainable public transit.
Pledges for Laval
During a briefing for the media held at Fabre PQ candidate François-Gycelain Rocque’s farm in Ste-Dorothée on Aug. 14, Rocque and Robert Carrier, who is running for the party in Mille-Îles, laid out a series of PQ pledges for Laval for the next four to five years should their party form the next government.
The other Laval PQ candidates are Suzanne Proulx (Sainte-Rose), Linda Tousigant (Vimont), Léo Bureau-Blouin (Laval-des-Rapides), and Jean Cooke (Chomedey). Addressing the issue of economic development, Rocque suggested that government intervention has become more important taking into account the fragile global economy which could create conditions that stand to impact the financial situation of Laval and Quebec.
“Laval is fortunate to be in a privileged position and has the advantage of having an entrepreneurial spirit,” he said, pointing out that in the last 10 years more than $1 billion has been invested in Laval. Rocque, who spent 16 years at the Laval Technopole economic development agency, said it remains important to encourage areas of the local economy which hold potential for development.
Support local economy
According to Rocque, a PQ government would take measures to increase support to certain key sectors of the Laval economy, including manufacturing, technology, food production, biotechnology and tourism, which are competing on an international scale. Rocque said the six PQ candidates in Laval were pleased with PQ leader Pauline Marois’s recent pledge to reposition Quebec’s Caisse de dépôt et placement so that it can resume its role as an important component in the promotion of Quebec-based businesses and a sound economy.
Last week, Marois stated: “With a strategic investment fund of $10 billion we can take back control over our development and stay masters in our own house. We must resume this leadership and look to the future to develop new niches for excellence. That is what we will do.”
According to some of the most recent figures from Statistics Canada, Laval had 10,648 employers in 2006 who created 140,000 jobs. The rate of employment is nearly 64 per cent, which is the highest rate in Quebec and higher than the average for Canada. Rocque noted that Laval’s small and medium-sized businesses are responsible for 4 out of 5 jobs in the Laval region.
In Laval, some 140 businesses are directly related to agriculture and nearly 30 per cent of the Laval territory is used for farming. Laval’s PQ candidates say they stand firmly behind a policy announced by Marois in July – food sovereignty. “This announcement will have a crucial influence on our territory, since Laval has an important economic dimension with regard to the food production sector,” Rocque said.
In the last 25 years, the percentage of food products made and consumed in Quebec dropped drastically, reaching a low of 33 per cent by 2009. It is estimated that if each consumer in Quebec were to annually purchase an additional $30 worth of food produced here, sales would rise by $1 billion in five years. Rocque said the downward trend must be reversed and that food sovereignty would result in the creation of employment and an influx of investment.
Local transit pledges
Regarding public transportation in Laval, Carrier noted that from 2008 to 2010 Laval’s Metro stations saw an increase in ridership of 22 per cent. “It is clear that we must increase the efficiency of our public transit networks in order to better respond to the needs of Laval residents,” he said. “Our riders use them to get around, business owners appreciate them for the benefits they have for employees, retailers get more consumers who are more mobile and the environment is also better off.”
Carrier said it will be necessary to increase the number of reserved lanes for buses and taxis in order to improve traffic flow everywhere in Laval. He said that such a measure would also encourage car sharing. He and the other PQ candidates from Laval are in favour of increasing the number of parking spaces reserved for public transit users near major roadways. They are also in favour of extending bicycle paths throughout Laval so that they link up to networks of bike paths spanning all of Quebec.