Mayor Denis Coderre warned reporters before their question period on the federal government's decision to impose a toll bridge on Montreal that he was "about to lose it."
Coderre was indeed livid over a announcement late Friday by the Conservative government that a new Champlain bridge would, as previously mentioned, be built as a public-private partnership, and the consortium responsible would impose tolls on drivers using the future span.
"They're doing whatever they want," Coderre said of the federal government. "They're tabling a (375-page omnibus) bill when all we need to do is talk together. It's like they don't care...they were supposed to have 13 scenarios. They picked up one, and said 'this is it, enjoy yourselves and have a nice day.'"
Coderre said a toll bridge would increase traffic on both sides of the island and create issues on neighbouring bridges, as motorists could flee the Champlain to avoid the extra cost.
"It's unacceptable. This is not how you respect your partners and this is not how you respect the taxpayer," a fiery Coderre said, banging his fist on the podium. "It's imperative to all the stakeholders to talk about clearly what's the impact of a future toll on the Champlain bridge."
"The toll is not acceptable and I think it shows a lack of leadership from the PQ government," said CAQ leader François Legault, who met with Coderre at City Hall this afternoon. "I think that Mr. Harper doesn't have any respect for Mrs. Marois' government in doing so."
Legault seemed taken aback by the Conservatives' decision and said they are taking advantage of the fact that Premier Pauline Marois is in the midst of an election campaign; Federal officials "know very well they (PQ leaders) are not in a good position to negotiate."
"It's a total lack of sensitivity," Coderre added, "to the Quebec reality."
On the timing of the announcement, Coderre was left scratching his head.
"Why do we have to table a bill now? Why do we have to do it ten days before an election? Why do we have to create a big fuss, (pitting) Ottawa versus Quebec?"
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