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Press release
3 July 2020

Regional Air Transportation : François Legault Needs to Take Action for Our Regions

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The Leader of the Official Opposition and Critic for the Charter for Regions, Ms. Dominique Anglade, denounced the fact that Air Canada has decided to indefinitely suspend 8 connections and 4 layovers in Quebec, to the detriment of our regions’ vitality. This business decision will directly impact citizens’ quality of life in addition to being a serious blow for many municipalities who will find themselves isolated and deprived of major economic benefits. Today, it is time for François Legault to put an end to his silence and demonstrate leadership by getting directly involved in regional transportation coverage, an issue that existed long before the Canadian transportation company’s announcement and pandemic–related issues. We are calling for the creation of a committee composed of all affected stakeholders so that their voices can be heard at the decision-making table and for the Legault government to demonstrate its political willingness to truly defend the interests of our regions.

For that to happen, François Legault needs to create a crisis unit within his government, but also call on the Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Justin Trudeau, to find a solution to ensure continuity for Quebec’s regional transportation services. We believe that the economic impacts of such a decision will affect the health care and education sectors, as well as the tourism industry and will severely impact our ability to attract new citizens to remote municipalities.

The very heart of our regions is being attacked by Air Canada’s decision and we cannot allow this situation to degenerate. We want to hear from the Premier of Quebec on this issue; he needs to work to re-establish and maintain these regional connections and offer flexible services for all. The recommendations that we are making today align with many of the issues that mayors have raised with us following the business decision- they will quickly contribute to ensuring our regions’ development and vitality. When it comes to regional transportation, we want Quebecers to pay a fair price and have more money in their pockets.

–Dominique Anglade, Leader of the Official Opposition and Critic for the Charter for Regions

The regional transportation service offer is a real issue in Quebec. In addition to air connections, we also need to think about the impacts a decision like the one made by Air Canada has on road services which, in the current context, are essential to Quebec’s economic recovery. The government needs to work with the affected stakeholders to rapidly find a solution and mitigate the economic effects that many Quebecers will endure.

–Pierre Arcand, Official Opposition Critic for Transport

It is inconceivable that in 2020 citizen mobility in Quebec is hampered by conditions related to air transportation, especially when we are talking about economic recovery. We need to work with our municipal stakeholders to enhance the efficacy of the transportation service offer. This decision made by Air Canada is a step backward for our regions and our municipalities, and we need to quickly correct the situation.

–Marie-Claude Nichols, Official Opposition Critic for Municipal Affairs.

At the same time, let’s underscore the fact that transportation within our regions is not a new problem, and that the former Liberal government undertook a number of actions in collaboration with the affected stakeholders to find solutions and thereby mitigate the impacts associated with the rationalization of the service offer among inter-regional transportation companies. Recall that the Regional Air Transportation Summit was held in February of 2018, it is time for the Legault government to follow through on the recommendations that came from that initiative.