The Quebec National Assembly has adopted a motion to express disappointment with the federal budget after Ottawa did not commit any money for important transportation projects in Montreal.
The motion passed by a 95-0 margin Thursday, with two abstentions from members of the left-wing Quebec Solidaire because they considered the motion too favourable to the private sector.
Premier Philippe Couillard was absent as he was en route to inaugurating a pediatric centre elsewhere in the province.
The motion will be sent to Ottawa to show Quebec’s “great disappointment” at what it calls the absence of federal commitment in areas the province considers priorities.
The Couillard government had been holding out for funding for the electric train project — in the hopes that construction could get underway by the end of the year — and extending the Metro’s blue line.
Thursday, the PQ started a debate over which party is stronger at negotiating with Ottawa.
PQ Leader Jean-François Lisée argued Quebec’s Liberal MPs are missing in action, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who was elected in the Montreal-area riding of Papineau.
“I think he’s been completely engulfed in this Canadian culture that says Quebec has enough, you shouldn’t give anything to Quebec and even if you just give its fair share to Quebec you’re going to lose votes in the rest of Canada,” said Lisée.
“I think that’s where we are. At least when the Parti Québécois is in power, we are not loved, but we are feared.”
Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao said Thursday he expects to have a private conversation with federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau over the lack of funding, saying the decision on funding is not final.
“I’m trying to be polite here. I don’t want to ruffle Mr. Lisée’s feathers, but he’s wrong, he’s just totally wrong,” Leitao said.
The Liberals said they hope to still convince Trudeau’s government to put the head office of Canada’s new infrastructure bank in Montreal.
— with files from The Canadian Press.