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Be Heard: The Bloc Québécois answers your questions

Questions of immigration, crime and funding for services are importantto Metro's urban readers, so we asked each major party where they standon those issues.

Questions of immigration, crime and funding for services are important to Metro's urban readers, so we asked each major party where they stand on those issues.

Many immigrants to Canada are encouraged and allowed to move here based on their professional experience or credentials, only to discover once they arrive that their credentials are not recognized. What role should the federal government play in addressing this problem?

The evaluation and the recognition of credentials is Quebec’s and the other provinces’ responsibility. The Quebec government has been working on ways to facilitate the movement of workers. We support these efforts.

Quebec is, to a certain extent, autonomous in terms of immigration. Unfortunately, the actual agreement with the federal government doesn’t allow us to put forward all the values that characterize Quebec. The only way Quebec will be able to deploy a more efficient and humane policy is by getting hold of the means sovereign countries can count on, like embassies and consulates.

Other G8 countries have national transit strategies, but in Canada federal investments in public transit tend to be ad hoc, which many big city mayors have argued leads to worse planning and less efficient spending. Does Canada need a national transit strategy, and if so, what should it look like?

The Bloc Québécois is in favour of discussions to be held across Canada to put in place a frame, which could allow the adoption of politics that are compatible. However, such discussions should not be used as an excuse by the federal government to interfere in Quebec’s jurisdiction and, by doing so, double the politics, double the expenses and complicate the legislation.

According to Statistics Canada, the crime rate has been declining since the early 1990s, yet concern about crime in urban areas seems to be on the rise. How do you reconcile this discrepancy?

Since it came into power, the Conservative government has multiplicated the ideological positions on justice and security and has adopted an alarmist rhetoric in regards to criminality.

It is true that the fight against crime is important, especially when the victims are children, but we have to remember that crime rates have been going down in Quebec and in Canada for nearly 15 years.

The Bloc Québécois suggests concrete and efficient legislative measures to protect vulnerable people, particularly children and victims of human trafficking. We have proposed and obtained the elimination of liberations at the sixth of a sentence.

According to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, only $8 of every $100 Canadians spend on taxes goes to cities, yet cities are struggling to pay for infrastructure, policing, housing, and many of the government services city residents actually interact with most on a day-to-day basis. What changes are required to ensure cities are sufficiently funded?

The Bloc Québécois proposed that the investment in infrastructure be modified to take into account different governments’ ability to pay. The federal government would pay for 50 per cent of the expenses, Quebec and the provinces would pay for 35 per cent, while the municipalities would pay for 15 per cent. That reflects the capacity to pay of everyone.

The Bloc quebecois asks the federal government to regroup its programs under one unique and unconditional transfer fund to make sure it respects Quebec’s and the provinces’ jurisdiction.

A century ago only 20 per cent of Canadians lived in urban areas. That number has now increased to 80 per cent (or more than 25 million Canadians). What is your party’s vision for the role of cities within the Canadian federation, now and into the future?

Large cities have more and more responsibilities. We wish that the federal government would take its responsibilities and work on files that concern them. In the case of Montreal, for example, the federal government has to quickly undertake the construction of a new Champlain bridge, which should include Light Rail Transit System. It should also contribute to the realization of the shuttle train between the Trudeau Airport and downtown Montreal.

We also ask that the government participate in the fight against poverty and homelessness by reinvesting in affordable and safe social housing. We also wish it would support the Quebec government in the development of infrastructure for transit systems, notably by establishing reserved lanes or routes for common transportation and by developing new commuter train lines, tramways and trolleys.

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