Pierre Poilievre was inclined to fund the 3rd link but hesitated for the tram

Pierre Poilievre was inclined to fund the 3rd link but hesitated for the tram

Unlike Justin Trudeau’s liberals, Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre would not hesitate to fund new highway projects like the Quebec-Lévis tunnel, but he refuses to fret over the tram’s cost overruns.

• Also read: Ottawa is no longer investing in new highways

The Liberal government has reiterated several times in recent years that it is now prioritizing investments in public transport infrastructure and is no longer funding highway projects in the country.

“I don’t agree,” the CCP chief said bluntly in an interview with Le Journal as part of his tour of Quebec on Tuesday, after visiting Montreal the previous day. Mr. Poilievre intends to review the criteria for infrastructure programs to allow road projects to be funded.

“We are the second largest country in the world. Yes, I’m all for public transport, but there are some people it doesn’t work for. People far away in suburban or rural communities can’t take an electric train to pick up their groceries or take their kid to hockey. They must be realistic and practical. I will end the war on the car,” dropped the one who aspires to be Canada’s next prime minister.

Canada's Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre is in Quebec on Tuesday.  He will take part in a militant rally in the evening and end his tour on Quebec soil in Trois-Rivières on Wednesday, after his visit to the metropolis on Monday.

“Wrong environmental reasons”

Pierre Poilievre also accuses the Trudeau government of meddling in Quebec’s jurisdiction and blocking the 3rd Link project, citing “false environmental reasons”.

Keep in mind that Ottawa plans to conduct its own studies and submit the tunnel project to analysis by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada. “I am convinced that Quebec is able to protect the environment by building a tunnel. As for funding, we’re awaiting all the studies and when the project is complete we’ll look into it, but it’s certain that the City of Québec will get its fair share of federal infrastructure funding.

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More careful for the tram

Asked about the streetcar project, whose $4 billion cost is no longer sustainable and will soon be revised upwards, Mr. Poilievre was much more reluctant to fund any overruns in the interview, advocating a hard line despite the inflationary environment.

“My government, if I spend money on a project, it will be the amount announced and that’s it. We will not go over budget and it will be the same reality across the country […] The idea that we accept governments going over their budgets on all projects is ridiculous,” he said at first, before throwing in some ballast.

“We want to know the final cost […] before a decision is announced [, mais] At the same time, taxpayers need to be protected,” he reiterated, referring to small businesses and families who are tightening their belts.

As for the TGF (High Frequency Train) Quebec-Windsor project, the cost of which is unknown, Mr Poilievre flatly refused to comment.

“We can’t support a project without knowing the costs,” he says. “I’m not the type of politician who promises everything without knowing how to foot the bill. That’s the problem we have now, and that’s why we have the highest inflation rate in 40 years. We have a government that spends unchecked.”

When pointed out that he does not display the same reticence on the 3rd Link project, which has long been supported at all costs by all Conservative Party tenors, Mr Poilievre does not flinch. “My answers are my answers to these questions.”

The head of the PCC gave a speech with an economic flair to business people in La Scène Lebourgneuf this morning, essentially repeating what he had said the day before in the metropolis. He had to conduct several interviews and was scheduled to meet with community organizations in the afternoon before a partisan rally was held in the evening. He will continue his seduction operation on the soil of Quebec on Wednesday in Trois-Rivières.

The Quebec caucus rallied

Asked about his ties to the Québec faction MPs – who supported Jean Charest mainly during last year’s election campaign for leadership – Mr Poilievre agreed, saying he had an “excellent team” to work with “work well together”.

MEP Gérard Deltell confirmed that Mr Poilievre would now be increasingly visible in the media. He confirmed that relations were “excellent” and praised his leader, who gave a speech of about thirty minutes in French “without mistakes and without notes”: “Wow, that’s quite an achievement from our leader! I am very proud of him.”

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