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FQM President wants cellular coverage by fall 2026

FQM President wants cellular coverage by fall 2026

23 August 2022 à 12:00 am

The president of the Fédération québécoise des municipalités (FQM), Jacques Demers, who is also mayor of Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley and warden of the MRC de Memphrémagog, was a guest on the “Bonjour Pontiac” program yesterday (August 22), where he discussed their members’ nine priorities for the provincial election campaign.

At the top of the list is to ensuring cellular coverage throughout Quebec to strengthen the attractiveness of rural regions and ensure the safety of all, by the end of the next term.

“Yes, exactly. Health too, but the cellular, it is that we see it more than ever,” he said (translated). “Then, with the loss of pagers, many people did not know that there are many emergency services that still worked with pagers. Well, now, our fire departments, our ambulance services, as soon as they get out of their office, their garage or whatever it is, well, oops, they don’t have those services anymore. People who break down and who now believe that, since we are along a road, out of the way, we will have cell service. No, this is not the case everywhere. First of all, we need a very precise map, because everyone knows a little space in their area where there is no service, but we need to know it for all of Quebec.”

During the 2018 election campaign, the FQM had asked that all regions be connected to high-speed internet, a goal which the government has promised to fulfill by the fall. The FQM is also calling for the redeployment of health services in all territories through a reorganization based on strong local governance of resources that will once again make it possible to have front-line services in the regions. The FQM is also asking that employees of the Quebec government be redeployed to more far-flung regions.

“Now that we have people who work from home, we must consider having civil servants who are deployed in the regions,” he said (translated). “We need the jobs that are fixed there. No matter who goes, working in that community, they will be part of the community with their spouse, the children. You know, it’s really, we want to have stable jobs and also ears and eyes for the government on our territory, who will really know what is going on … Well, these are people who will be, on a daily basis, members of our communities.”

Earlier this year, Premier Legault was in Maniwaki to announce a redistribution of government jobs to rural regions, but the plan excluded the Pontiac even though it has one of the lowest socioeconomic rankings in the province.

The full (French-language) interview with Demers is available here.