Pension reform hearings open at National Assembly

Quebec City mayor Regis Labeaume (left) shakes hands with Denis Coderre
Photo courtesy La Presse

The public hearings into the government's pension reform bill is underway at the National Assembly.

The committee overseeing the hearings heard from the mayors of Quebec's two biggest cities - Regis Labeaume of Quebec City and Denis Coderre of Montreal.

Coderre was blunt when he said the city's taxpayers are tapped out.

"The taxpayers and city have reached their limits of tolerance," he said. "The pensions costs are too heavy and are undermining the ability to offer services to citizens."

He says the reforms can cut the city's deficit of almost $2-billion in half.

Without them, he warns that the city's services will suffer.

He says having municipal employees boost their pension contribution to 50-50 is in line with what most private and public sector workers pay.

He adds that despite recent bad blood - including the storming of city hall by workers on Monday - he is ready to keep negotiating and work with the unions to reach a fair and equitable solution.

The hearings took place under tight security, with police officers ringing the National Assembly when they opened this morning.

The hearings will continue until Tuesday.

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