March 25, 2019 2:34 pm
Updated: March 25, 2019 6:03 pm

Quebec cabbies stage one-day strike

WATCH: Taxi drivers from around the province staged a 12-hour strike on Monday to protest Bill 17. As Global's Phil Carpenter reports, cabbies say the Coalition Avenir Quebec's proposed legislation will cripple the taxi industry.

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Several hundred taxi drivers gathered at the Cosmodome in Laval early Monday morning.

That was just one of the several places where they assembled before heading for protests around Montreal, and it’s all part of a 12-hour strike that started at 7 a.m. on Monday morning to protest legislation they say will cripple the taxi industry.

“We gonna strike ’til we get what we want,” says cab driver Malek Zinati.

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Bill 17 was tabled last week as a way to deregulate the taxi industry and get rid of expensive fees. It would allow cabbies to charge a variable rate like Uber and Lyft. Besides that, it would abolish taxi permits, which means the ones that drivers have now would become obsolete.

READ MORE: Legault government to invest $500 million in Quebec taxi industry

“It is inconceivable that the government would pass something like that,” driver Raymond Nadon fumes. “It makes no sense. They’re ruining the taxi business.”

Some permits cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and drivers argue that the $250 million that the government is offering as compensation, is not nearly enough.

READ MORE: Montreal taxi drivers say they need to save their industry from extinction

“I’ve been driving a cab for 44 years now,” Nadon tells Global News. That was my pension and there will be nothing left.”

Transport Minister François Bonnardel insists that the taxi drivers will have more money in their pockets at the end of the day. Still, he plans to meet with taxi industry representatives on Tuesday.

“We will talk about the law,” he says. “I want to talk to them about this bill concerning what they like and what they don’t like.”

Taxi drivers say they plan to keep up pressure tactics, including possibly going on strike again on Tuesday, if necessary.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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