QUEBEC CITY – The mayors of Quebec’s two largest cities want the provincial government to hurry up and pass legislation to restructure pension plans.
Mayors Denis Coderre and Régis Labeaume were in Quebec City on Tuesday for the first official meeting with the Premier and his Municipal Affairs Minister.
The mayors insisted pension plan deficits are the biggest problem currently facing municipalities.
“Clearly one of our main issues today is to talk about the pension plan, its future and we would like to see the bill we had in the past from Agnès Maltais to be tabled again,” said the Montreal mayor.
City pension plans are more than $4 billion in the hole. Unless something is done, city officials are warning that taxpayers will be called on to foot the bill.
In February, the Parti Quebecois recommended that in the future, city workers would increase their contributions.
Now, the Liberals are promising even deeper changes.
“Just the fact that we’re going to share with the workers, the unions, half of the past deficit, that’s a big difference. In the law tabled by Mrs. Maltais, it wasn’t there,” said Labeaume.
The mayors told reporters discussing the issue with Premier Philippe Couillard was easy.
“It was a really good meeting, kudos to that government, the premier was very eloquent,” said Coderre, as he exited the Premier’s office.
They also obtained guarantees that the metropolis and the capital would get special status.
Both cities want more powers for culture, immigration and public transit.
“We’re not just a provincial creature, we are an order of government of proximity, and we truly want to work together,” Coderre added.
“The premier said this new status for Quebec and Montreal will be part of the legacy he’ll give to this province. He said that,” said Labeaume.
The mayors left the meeting happy and confident that many of their demands would be met before the year end.
The bill on pension plans is expected to be tabled in June.
© Shaw Media, 2014