Conservation, traffic and health care are main Vaudreuil election issues for NDP’s Young
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Vaudreuil riding provincial NDP candidate Ryan Young inside the forest at Place Pierre-Brunet in Pincourt on September 24. Young said his party is dedicated to maintaining free access to health care for all Quebecers, finding solutions to alleviate traffic on Highway 20, and environmental conservation in the region.
The environmental preservation of Vaudreuil’s rapidly dwindling forested areas due to urban sprawl, the ensuing increase in vehicle traffic, and the continuing wait for the completion of the new regional hospital are the major issues that prompted Ryan Young to campaign under the provincial New Democratic Party (NDP) banner in the upcoming election on Monday, October 1.
Young lives in Ste. Anne de Bellevue and is serving his third consecutive mandate as District 2 municipal councillor. He is confident he can represent the needs of Vaudreuil’s constituents as a provincial Member of the National Assembly (MNA) if elected.
First time as provincial NDP candidate
“Absolutely. There are many MNAs today who don’t live in their riding,” Young told The Journal during an interview in the forest at Place Pierre-Brunet in Pincourt on September 24. “I live nearby and grew up in the area. I know it inside out.”
This isn’t Young’s first stint as an NDP candidate. He ran for the NDP in the 2015 federal election under the leadership of Thomas Mulcair. “There was talk at the time of restarting the provincial NDP. We saw there was a place for a social democratic party that was not sovereigntist. We wanted an alternative for voters, which is why the provincial party was restarted,” said Young.
He’s running in Vaudreuil because the NDP hadn’t found anyone suitable who could commit full-time to the election campaign. He was also busy with other commitments, which is why Young didn’t run in his riding of Jacques-Cartier at the time. “I was confirmed as a candidate in Vaudreuil after the election was called. I only got my posters up starting last week,” said Young.
His appearance at Place Pierre-Brunet, also known as Rousseau Forest, drew a few local people who were interested in hearing about his stance on preserving one of the last natural woodlands in Pincourt. Young attributes the possible demise of the forest to development as indicative of inadequate provincial planning in the region that has resulted in urban sprawl.
“There are no provincial funds to allow municipalities to conserve green space such as Rousseau Forest. The Municipalité Régionale de Comté (MRC) Vaudreuil-Soulanges does not seem to have spent any time or they don’t have enough money to oversee the conservation of these valuable natural areas,” said Young.
Inadequate highway infrastructure
The unprecedented continuing rapid development and urbanization of Vaudreuil is causing more than the loss of green space – it’s putting additional strain on the region’s insufficient and outdated provincial road infrastructure, which hasn’t been significantly expanded in several decades to handle more cars and commuters. The problems are acute on both Highways 20 and 40, said Young.
A possible solution to the worsening congestion along Highway 20 at the traffic lights on Boulevard Don-Quichotte in Île-Perrot and Boulevard Cardinal Léger in Pincourt is to build underpasses at both intersections for through traffic and possibly expand the artery to three lanes in each direction, said Young.
He acknowledges the Ministry of Transport isn’t planning any work on Highway 20 for the next 10 to 15 years. “They have the money to do it but they have other priorities,” he said. “The traffic is only going to get worse.”
Long health care wait
As the region’s population continues to surge, Young said the Liberals could have done more to start construction of the long-awaited hospital instead of continuously pushing it back to its current proposed 2026 opening date. The hospital was first proposed in 2010.
“They’ve waited too long to get the hospital up and running. It’s just another case where this area for the Liberal party wasn’t significant enough as a swing riding where they needed the votes so they spent money elsewhere trying to find votes,” said Young. “The whole health care system under (Liberal Health Minister) Gaétan Barrette has been a disaster.”