February 25, 2024

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Hearing: Tramway opposition rejected in court, project can go ahead

Hearing: Tramway opposition rejected in court, project can go ahead

High Court ruled: Tramway project not illegal. The judge rejected the anti-tramway arguments as a whole and ruled that the site could go ahead.

• Read more: Tramway: Bruno Marchant welcomes “gains across the board”.

• Read more: Quebec’s mayor is on track to launch the tramway in 2028

• Read more: Potential delays in the tramway project: Lessons to be learned from Ottawa

“In short, nothing in the plaintiffs’ appeal precludes the Quebec City tramway project,” concludes Justice Clement Samson in an 85-page ruling issued Tuesday.

The magistrate dismantles the tram’s opponents’ arguments one by one, compiled under Quebec’s rule, and their lawyer, Me Guy Bertrand, excels.

The judge said, “The Council of Ministers has the authority to govern the Quebec tramway project within the meaning of the provisions of the Environmental Quality Act. », That the process was carried out in accordance with this law and that the Council of Ministers had the discretion to accept the Quebec plan.

Plaintiffs failed to claim a referendum was required because no statute mandated it, the court concludes. Additionally, the judge ruled that “courts have no jurisdiction to intervene in the breach of election promises”.

“In general, plaintiffs fail in their challenge to the tramway project, which is a violation of their fundamental rights Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms And this Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, He writes.

Accordingly, the claim for compensatory and punitive damages is denied.

Justice Clement Samson, who heard the anti-tramways case for four days last December, was called upon to decide an important question: Is the Quebec tramway project illegal?

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Quebec’s Claim Best (QMM), which filed a case before the Superior Court, asked that the plan be halted and the court ordered a referendum on the plan.

reactions

Mayor of Quebec, Bruno Marchant said he was happy Judgment and society wanted to “move forward”.

Me Bertrand for his part was “disappointed” with the result QMM is considering an appeal against the verdict.

Reached for comment, Transport Minister Geneviève Guilbault was coy about comments.

“Réseau Express de la Capitale is an important project for the citizens of our capital-national region. As it is a Quebec City project, we will allow them to comment,” he said in an email.

Taschereau’s deputy and responsible for transport and sustainable mobility, Étienne Grandmont, was pleased with the verdict.

“Ultimately, the collective right of the entire community takes precedence over the rights of a few individuals who are dissatisfied with the project. Now that this final attempt to derail the Quebec Tramway has failed, we can finally focus on executing this beautiful and great project for our city! Respecting Quebec City’s jurisdiction, I trust that Minister Guilbault will take note of this ruling and work with us to move the project forward.

Impact on quality of life

During the trial, the plaintiffs called two residents who live along the route of the future tramway.

They exposed the potential effects of the project on their quality of life, with one of them describing the expropriations as “rape”.

Experts called by QMM said the plan was “unacceptable” because the city had not considered all possible modes of transport. Ordinance authorizing tramways.

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“Useless” expertise

For its part, Quebec City and the Quebec government rejected all of QMM’s arguments, with Judge Sampson calling the two experts’ contributions “completely worthless” and asking them to dismiss them. The judge agreed with them.

“The Tribunal therefore rejects the statements and testimony of these expert witnesses in deference to their apparent competence.”

According to the court, Fanny Tremblay-Racicot “used shocking statements”, “provided[é] his opinion” and “acted with a certain belligerence which is contrary to what would normally be expected of a neutral expert appearing in court”.

Clement Gosselin and Denis Poussart fail to mention in their expertise that a 2 km tunnel is “significantly less expensive” than the 20 km tunnel they recommend.

Additionally, Mr. Gosselin “adopted a prejudicial attitude which, in ordinary times, would have been detrimental to the probative force of his testimony”.

The city recalled that it had no legal obligation to hold a referendum to decide on the tramway.

He contends that a scheme approved by the National Assembly cannot be declared illegal.

The Quebec lawyer meanwhile pleaded not for the court to rule on the “political” decision made for the tramway.

denied the allegations

Taking advantage of this opportunity, the judge, Mr.e Bertrand during the trial.

Clement Samson dismissed attempts to “undermine environmental groups”.

“Just because members of an advisory board receive payments for participating in meetings, it cannot be inferred that they have lost all objectivity. Allegations of conflict of interest are not supported. »

He ruled that there was “not a shred of evidence” that the government’s actions had been dictated by lobbyists.

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The alleged conflict of interest or conspiracy referred to by Ms.e Comprising Bertrand and the government, the Caisse depot et employment and an expert, the court “rejects these intentions”.

The same rule is reserved for conflict of interest involving SISTRA.

“Therefore, the evidence does not permit the conclusion of the conflict of interest alleged by the plaintiffs. It is too easy to call that,” the judge wrote.

– Parliamentary Office, in collaboration with Marc-Andre Gagnon