The Caquist government wants to give itself a “long-term strategy” on floods.
Upon his return to the House on Tuesday after the floods that struck several regions of Quebec, Prime Minister François Legault said he wanted to bring together his ministers concerned and the Secretary General of the government to plan for the future. However, he brushed aside Quebec Solidaire’s (QS) proposal to hold an emergency debate on the floods.
“We will do a post-mortem in the coming months,” said Legault in response to a question from the leader of the opposition, Pierre Arcand, who demanded “a broader reflection” to protect himself after this second flood span in two years.
“We will try to be ready for spring 2020,” said Legault. According to him, “questions must be asked” about the definition of flood zones, and he intends to update the mapping of these zones.
His government will carry out an analysis with the municipalities, with the RCMs, and in particular the ministries of Public Security and Transport.
However, this is not the time to debate in Parliament, he replied to QS. “It’s not the time to set up forums and committees, it’s time to act. (…) I do not think (QS co-spokesperson) Manon Massé and other politicians are helpful. ”
All parties agreed to a motion in support of the victims. In his speech, Pierre Arcand argued that “all parliamentarians agree that 2019 must be the breaking point between the past and what must be done in the future.”
Manon Massé said that “we are pretty good in Quebec to manage crises, when they arrive, but we are a little less good to prevent them before they arrive.”
PQ leader Pascal Bérubé called on the government to provide psychosocial support to those affected not only in the near future but “in the months or even years to come”.
In the morning, the Minister of Public Security, Geneviève Guilbault, said that the authorities finally seem to see “the light at the end of the tunnel” in most areas affected by floods.
“The worst is behind us,” the minister told a press conference at her office, noting that river levels are down, except for the Ottawa River.
“Courage, we’re going in the right direction,” added Mr. Legault.
Still, there were still 10,139 evacuees, including 6,000 in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, 6681 flooded residences and 3348 isolated residences. Monday, the balance was substantially the same, there is only the number of isolated residences that is down significantly, compared to 3458 the day before.
The Prime Minister did not want to blame anyone after Saturday’s breakup at Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, which forced the rapid evacuation of 6000 people.
The state of the work had been known since 2009 and work was planned for next fall, but “nobody thought it was as urgent,” said Legault.
“We will do a post-mortem and ask questions about dikes in general Quebec,” he said, adding that in small municipalities, “there are no people who are competent to make the right decisions “and help programs need to be put in place.