• James Armstrong

Premier Philippe Couillard attends Liberal picnic in Soulanges riding


Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard gives his full support to Soulanges MNA Lucie Charlebois (left) describing her as the best Deputy in Quebec.

The sun broke through the clouds as Premier Philippe Couillard and his wife Suzanne Pilote stepped out of their campaign bus on Sunday, September 23 to attend a picnic organized by Deputy for Soulanges Lucie Charlebois and her team. The event held on the grounds of Théâtre Pont Château in Coteau-du-Lac attracted approximately 150 invited guests to meet the premier.

Vaudreuil-Soulanges hospital project

According to Couillard, the Vaudreuil-Soulanges hospital story began with discussions about clinics followed by plans for ambulatory clinics that evolved into the current 400-bed hospital project.

“It’s a huge investment for the healthcare of this region that means people will no longer have to go to other regions for hospital care,” said Couillard of the $1.5 billion project. “It will be the most modern hospital project in Quebec,” he added.

Questions were raised regarding an earlier start date for the construction of the project but Couillard emphasized the project is following all of the rules.

“There is also all the infrastructure, roads, water, sewers that has to happen as well,” he said. “Believe me, if it could be built sooner, we would be the first to be happy.”

English Secretariat

“I know we have English speaking Quebecers here with us. I want to tell you we are all first-class Quebecers. It was extremely important for me to visit English-speaking groups across the province,” said Couillard, in English, as he described how the Liberal government had created an English Secretariat to ensure the concerns of English-speaking Quebecers are considered in governmental policy and decision-making processes.

“We have allocated a $25 million budget for the Secretariat and now we have projects with community groups, universities and the civil service,” he said. ”We have opened the doors to young English-speaking Quebecers working in the civil service,” he said adding that thousands of applications have been received.

Double taxing senior citizens

Couillard promised active senior citizens who continue working won’t be double taxed.

“We are going to correct that situation so that seniors who work one or two days per week and receive their pension won’t be penalized.” He described how, currently, if a senior citizen earned between $24,000 to $25,000 it’s tax-free. “It will now be (raised to) $30,000,” said Couillard noting that free dental care and transportation are available for low-income seniors.

Life-long career paths

Couillard described how the economy and job market have changed, not only for Soulanges, but the rest of the country noting there were more jobs than people to fill them in the region.

“We know that people will change jobs two or three times in their lives. It’s part of what society and the economy have become,” he said.

“Changing your job and getting life-long training is something we all need to learn to live with,” he added.

“I am happy the premier stopped in to see us,” said Charlebois as the event came to an end. With one week left in the campaign before the election on Monday, October 1, Charlebois saw it a positive move.