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Nunavik MNA dumps on southern Quebec mayor’s support for Plan Nord

Top mayor likens northern Quebec to the “wild west”

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

Because northern Quebec is just like the “wild west,” the province’s governing Liberals must move ahead with Plan Nord, said the head of Quebec’s association of mayors, Eric Forest, who comes from the southern Quebec town of Rimouski.

Northern communities can’t manage their affairs, Forest said in a recent interview with the QMI news agency.

That’s why he wants to see the Liberals set up Société Plan Nord, a kind of one-stop shop for helping Plan Nord developers and managing about $2 billion in government spending for new infrastructure and projects.

Bill 27, now in the National Assembly’s legislative committee, calls for the establishment of that new corporation, the Société Plan Nord, which would likely be located in Sept-Iles or Baie-Comeau and be run by 15 appointed board members.

But Luc Ferland, the MNA for Ungava and the Parti Québécois opposition spokesperson for northern development, said Forest has it all wrong and that the Plan Nord and the new corporation aren’t going to solve all northern Quebec’s problems.

“By claiming that if the Societé Plan Nord is not implemented, that nothing will move forward [in northern Quebec], the Liberal ministers are taking northerners for dummies,” said Ferland said April 25 in Quebec City.

Ferland said that under Plan Nord, local municipalities stand to lose their some of their power over development.

“This is unacceptable,” he said.

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