Quebec Transport Minister won’t back down on essential items in Uber legislation

Click to play video: 'Daoust won’t compromise on Uber' Daoust won’t compromise on Uber
WATCH ABOVE: Quebec transport minister Jacques Daoust said he doesn't like the compromise Uber presented during hearings earlier this week. As Global's Raquel Fletcher reports, the ride-sharing service will have to act fast as the bill is expected to be passed soon – May 27, 2016

QUEBEC CITY – For weeks, Uber has been threatening to leave Quebec, but when the ride-sharing company appeared at hearings at the National Assembly earlier this week, they had a different attitude.

This time, representatives said they were willing to suspend their services during the hearings and they presented a compromise.

“We propose a fixed annual fee of $100,000 and a special tax of 35 cents per ride,” said Jean-Nicholas Guillemette, Uber Quebec general manager, adding this would allow Uber to continue operating in the province.

READ MORE: Liberal Party members see major flaws in Quebec government’s Uber bill

Friday, Transport Minister Jacques Daoust said he didn’t like the proposal.

“I’m not in agreement with raising two new taxes…So, we can have the benefit of Uber in Quebec, but I’m open to having a discussion with them,” he said.

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Instead, Daoust proposed a different idea: adopt the business plan of Montreal’s Teo Taxi, who currently rent taxi permits from permit holders.

“They say, ‘we will pay you $300 a week to have the benefit of your permit.’ If it’s possible for Teo, it’s possible for Uber,” said Daoust, saying no modifications will be made to Bill 100.

WATCH BELOW: Uber in Quebec

He remained firm Uber drivers will still need a taxi license and a permit – no exceptions.

“[Uber] made it pretty clear that they would not collect taxes and they made it pretty clear they would not stop their operation while negotiating and they changed their mind, so they showed us they can adapt to a situation,” he said.
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Bill 100 has been harshly criticized, even by members of the Liberal Party.

READ MORE: Quebec hearings into taxi industry and Uber begin

The opposition Coaliton Avenir Quebec (CAQ) said Daoust was too quick to dismiss Uber’s suggestions.

“I think that, first of all, Mr. Daoust, Mr. Couillard has to sit with Uber and find a way Uber can do business in Quebec,” said François Bonnardel, CAQ finance critic.

“We will request a meeting with Minister Daoust in order to better understand the government’s intentions and their views on how to establish a pilot project for ride-sharing,” said Uber spokesperson Jean-Christophe de Le Rue.

The transport minister said he is expecting to pass Bill 100 before June 10.

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