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Canada Legault government invokes closure to pass Hydro Quebec rates bill

22:05  08 december  2019
22:05  08 december  2019 Source:   globalnews.ca

'Quebecers will pay more': Opposition parties blast CAQ's Hydro-Québec rate bill

  'Quebecers will pay more': Opposition parties blast CAQ's Hydro-Québec rate bill QUEBEC — The three opposition parties teamed up Saturday to denounce the Legault government’s hydro rate bill , describing it as a cash grab that plays into the hands of Hydro-Québec while gutting the powers of the independent energy board. But Premier François Legault insisted the legislation, Bill 34, is in the interests of Quebecers because it will mean stable powers rates that do not exceed the inflation rate for years to come. But Premier François Legault insisted the legislation, Bill 34, is in the interests of Quebecers because it will mean stable powers rates that do not exceed the inflation rate for years to come.

François Legault wearing a suit and tie: Quebec Premier Francois Legault responds to the Opposition during question period, Saturday, December 7, 2019 at the legislature in Quebec City.© THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot Quebec Premier Francois Legault responds to the Opposition during question period, Saturday, December 7, 2019 at the legislature in Quebec City.

The Quebec government has invoked closure to pass legislation that will allow it to take control of the rates charged for electricity in the province.

Bill 34 was adopted just after midnight, 60 votes to 39, after legislature members spent their Saturday debating the bill.

The controversial legislation will see hydro rates frozen for 2020 and raised according to inflation after that.

READ MORE: CAQ tables bill calling for Hydro-Québec to reimburse customers for overbilling

'All French Canadians' are Catholic, Quebec premier tells governor of California

  'All French Canadians' are Catholic, Quebec premier tells governor of California Quebec Premier François Legault met California Gov. Gavin Newsom as part of his four-day tour of Hollywood and Silicon Valley. After shaking hands, their exchange grew a tad awkward as Legault tried to make small talk about religion and religious symbols. "All French Canadians are," Legault told Newsom in Sacramento, Calif., as the pair posed for photos after shaking hands. Legault met Newsom as part of his four-day tour of Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Photographers and reporters recorded their exchange as Legault initiated a bit of small talk.The premier first asked Newsom if he speaks French.

It allows Hydro-Quebec to avoid having to undergo an annual examination by the province's energy board.

An opposition Parti Québécois member argued the bill means Premier François Legault's Coalition Avenir Québec government will renounce its promise to repay $1.5 billion overcharged to Quebecers and will also impose increases worth $600 million over the next five years.

The government has argued the legislation is pressing because it would allow the province to return $500 million in January to Hydro-Quebec customers -- a roughly $60 credit for residential clients.

READ MORE: Quebec government could invoke closure to force adoption of Bill 34

Interim Liberal Leader Pierre Arcand argued there was no urgency -- it was simply a Coalition Avenir Québec government looking for additional money to finance its election promises.

It's the third time in six months the Legault government has used closure to end debate on legislation -- the last two being Bill 21, the province's controversial secularism law; and Bill 9, the province's immigration reform legislation.

Legault threatens 'special law' to change how family doctors are paid .
In an interview with Radio-Canada Friday, Legault said he wants to see general practitioners paid by the patient, as opposed to the current system, which pays doctors for every medical act performed, regardless of how many patients are seen. "It doesn't make sense that family doctors, for example, work four or five days a week and leave patients abandoned in the emergency rooms of hospitals," he said.During the 2018 provincial election, Legault's campaign promised to shorten wait times in emergency rooms by 90 minutes, something he said he can only be attained if family doctors are more accessible.

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