Quebec government proposes controversial Bill 61 to restart economy

Record Staff

Quebec’s Treasury Board president Christian Dubé tabled Bill 61 last Wednesday, which aims to stimulate the province’s economy after several months in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the bill is not being perceived as a positive step to restarting the economy by all members of the National Assembly. Opposition parties say the bill infringes on people’s basic rights and grants more power to the Quebec government.
The new legislation aims to reinvigorate the province’s stagnant economy by fast-tracking 202 infrastructure projects. Schools, seniors homes and public transit are among the proposed projects.
Last week, Dubé said the bill will make the government more agile when pushing through stalled infrastructure plans. They can also add projects at a later date. The Legault government only needs to debate with opposition parties for an hour.
The National Assembly closes its current session in a few days, which is why many in the opposition feel they are being strong armed by the government. It’s being pushed to pass by Friday as the session comes to halt with hardly any time to dissect the bill.
While Bill 61 focuses on rebuilding the economy through infrastructure, several petitions are circulating online, pointing out many hidden features that might be missed at a quick glance.
The bill gives the current government permanent power over expropriation. This could happen to anybody, at anytime, without proper legal defense. It also helps the government circumvent measures put in place to squash corruption and collusion.
There is also a note in the legislation that prolongs the health emergency in Quebec for up to two years. But the government is the only entity that has the power to end it, so it could last longer than two years. One petition calls this a “dictatorial maneuver”.
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