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Andrée Laforest gives a positive assessment of the year’ th 2023

The Minister of Municipal Affairs, Andrée Laforest, is the author of Bill 39 which will give more powers to cities. (Archive photo)

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Named the most popular minister of the year by all of her fellow MPs following a vote held in the National Assembly, the member for Chicoutimi and minister responsible for the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, Andrée Laforest, believes that this gift ends the year 2023 on a positive note.

In addition to its annual list, the newspaperLa Pressasked all parliamentarians to vote. The Minister of Municipal Affairs came first, tied with her colleague Lionel Carmant, for Social Services.

During an end-of-year interview with Radio-Canada, Andrée Laforest said she was flattered to have received such an honor.

I'm touched […]. I don't really know why my name was chosen. At the same time, I love helping. We must never forget where we come from. For me, it's certain that where I come from with the pre-kindergartens, the daycares, the stores, they are customers, they are parents, they are children, it is the proximity and the service to customers, argued the former owner of a private daycare and a business.

At the end of 2023, Andrée Laforest notably concluded a new fiscal pact with the municipalities of the province.

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We negotiated intensely, it went well. It is certain that there have been demands for housing, homelessness, climate change. Water infrastructure as well, but it's really a good agreement, thinks Andrée Laforest, who does not fail to point out that the mayors of Quebec are satisfied with the agreement that has been awaited for a very long time.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">With regard to the Georges-Vézina Center, the regional minister reiterates that she does not regret having interfered in the matter.

If I really had to do it again, I would do the same thing because I brought people together, those who have been coming to see me for four or five years at the county office. People were talking to me about the renovation of the Georges-Vézina center […]. We know that the Georges-Vézina Center is quite outdated. I carried the message of the organizations and I really wanted it to work well. The elected officials of Chicoutimi also came to see me, so it’s my role to bring people together, argues Andrée Laforest.

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Andrée Laforest as she arrives at the council of ministers.

When she understood that the elected officials of Saguenay did not want the proposed project, she withdrew from the debate. The deputy minister promises to offer her support for other projects submitted as part of the PAFIRSPA program.

Andrée Laforest does not believe that she interfered in appointing the new general auditor for the City of Saguenay, in the person of Jonathan Desbiens. She recalls that the Law requires municipalities with more than 100,000 inhabitants to have an auditor. After the departure of Sylvie Jean in April 2022, Saguenay was unable to find a successor, despite hiring headhunters.

Among the highlights of 2023, the politician cites the announcement of the investment of 1.4 billion dollars for the addition of 96 new tanks to the Jonquière complex of Rio Tinto.

We are in a particular context because at the same time, we want projects for the industrial-port zone. At the same time, we work for the Rio Tinto tanks. Most people told me: “Never, never, never Andrée, it’s going to work. We have been waiting for the tanks for years.

A quote from Andrée Laforest, Member of Parliament for Chicoutimi and Minister of Municipal Affairs

The standard bearer of the CAQ promises that other important announcements will be delivered by her government during 2024. She hopes that additional investments for the development of the Port of Saguenay can be announced over the next year.

I wish so. We have reached 226 million investments in five years to review and redo the quay and the conveyor. Everything is ready to accommodate major projects, concludes Andrée Laforest.

With Mélanie Patry and Alexandra Duchaine

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Rio Tinto invests $1.4 billion to install 96 new tanks

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