• John Jantak

CAQ candidate Bourbonnais pledges inclusiveness for all Quebecers


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Claude Bourbonnais, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) candidate for Vaudreuil in the upcoming provincial election, stands outside his campaign headquarters in Vaudreuil-Dorion on September 10.

Claude Bourbonnais, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) candidate for Vaudreuil in the upcoming provincial election, says his party is ready to deliver on their pledge to provide all Quebecers with the essentials of a sound and stable government that includes inclusiveness regardless of language and cultural background.

Language not an issue

“It’s not an Anglophone/Francophone issue,” said Bourbonnais. “The issues are the economy, health and education so that we can build a better Quebec within Canada. We don’t want to receive equalization payments from the other provinces. We want to get our pride back. Language is not an issue for us and it doesn’t matter to me. We want every Quebecer to benefit – Anglophones, Allophones as well as Francophones.”

The Journal met with Bourbonnais for an informal interview at his Vaudreuil riding office on Chemin Daoust in Vaudreuil-Dorion on September 10. The office is just metres away from the municipality of St. Lazare and the provincial riding of Soulanges. He shares it with fellow CAQ candidate Marilyne Picard who is campaigning in Soulanges.

Bourbonnais was born in Notre-Dame-de-l’île Perrot and his family lineage spans seven generations. He lived in Rigaud near Hudson and now lives in Vaudreuil-Dorion. His professional career spanned 20 years as one of Canada’s most experienced race car drivers.

No referendum

Bourbonnais’ decision to enter politics and run for the CAQ comes from a desire to improve the lives of his constituents, 41 per cent of whom are Anglophones and Allophones. “I’m running to represent my fellow citizens. I know a lot of people here and I want to give back to the community. I want to listen to people and hear what they have to say.” said Bourbonnais.

“I was attracted by the CAQ’s positive energy. They want to focus on the economy, health and education. There will be no referendum with the CAQ. Everything I saw looked good to me. I met with party leader François Legault. Everything went well and I had a positive vibe about him,” Bourbonnais added.

He feels the Liberals haven’t done anything substantial in the riding to address the important issues of education, health and transportation. Bourbonnais said the current infrastructure isn’t sufficient to handle the current population’s rapidly growing needs especially as more people move into the region.

Liberal abandonment

“What we have is pretty much the Liberal’s abandonment of this area. They just take this region for granted. They have been saying they would build a hospital since 2010 and nothing has been done yet. How long are they going to keep saying that? We don’t know,” said Bourbonnais.

“There are 150,000 people in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges area without a hospital. If you compare that with the Lac St. Jean and Trois-Rivières regions which have the same population, they have three hospitals each. Mr. Legault said he would start construction of the hospital within his first mandate if he’s elected,” Bourbonnais added.

Highway 20 and education

The long-awaited completion of Highway 20 is another issue Bourbonnais feels the Liberals have completely ignored. He’s critical that several previous Liberal administrations promised to go ahead with proposed projects but never followed through. “I understand Highway 20 is not even in the pipeline now. Once it gets into the pipeline, it’ll take 10 years before construction even starts,” Bourbonnais said.

The growing population in Vaudreuil has also spurred a sort of education crisis in the region – a lack of classroom space. “We need more elementary schools, secondary schools and a CEGEP. There’s no French CEGEP in the area,” said Bourbonnais. He added he would also work to improve public transit and train service.

Bourbonnais has been busy meeting with people at train stations, restaurants, and going door-to-door throughout the riding.

“I like the energy. It’s been positive,” he said. “I’ve met people from various cultures and backgrounds. Everybody so far seems to want a change.”

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