Robert Bussière gets another four years in West Quebec.
And he promises that the Wakefield Hospital will not close.
Speaking from his CAQ Outaouais headquarters at the Slush Puppy Centre in Gatineau on Oct. 3, Bussière said there had been some “exaggeration” about the future of the hospital in Wakefield.
“This is completely false that it’s going to be closing down,” he said. “Not at all. The population in the Outaouais is growing. There is going to be a need for the Wakefield Hospital, just as much as there is going to be a need for this new 600-bed hospital for the whole Outaouais,” he added about the mega-hospital to be built in Gatineau over the next decade.
Voters in the Gatineau riding gave the CAQ incumbent a sweeping mandate on Oct. 3, with Bussière taking a whopping 47 per cent of the vote, while Liberal candidate Caryl Green, who came in second, was unable to crack the 20 per cent mark.
She ended the night with just over 7,000 votes, compared to the more than 17,000 who voted for Bussière in the Gatineau riding.
Despite controversial policies like Bills 96, 21 and 40, Bussière said voters in the riding felt the CAQ’s pandemic response and investments in roads, healthcare, and senior care were what put them over the top. Four out of five CAQ candidates won in the Outaouais, with Liberal MNA Andre Fortin holding on to the only red seat in West Quebec. He told the Low Down that anglophones should not fear losing their services, nor should they worry about sending their kids to school in English.
“As far as the language problem, it’s not a problem,” said Bussière. “English speakers will always be getting served in their language; they’ll be able to send their kids to English school as they wanted.”
However, that sentiment is only true for historic anglophones — those who attended English school in Canada. Immigrants and newcomers who didn’t attend English school in the country, won’t have the same privileges under the CAQ’s new language law, Bill 96.
Bussière said two of his biggest priorities over the next four years will be healthcare and senior living.
A 2018 Institute for Socioeconomic Research and Information (IRIS) report found that the Outaouais was underfunded by $250 million compared to similar regions in Quebec. Bussière said he’s noticed the shortfall.
“We have just as much a right in the Outaouais to have equal service in the health system as the rest of the province, and that’s what we’re fighting for,” he said. “Education, culture. That’s what we are fighting for and that’s what I want to keep doing. Fighting for my people.”
Among other projects, Bussière said there are plans to rebuild the Alonzo-Wright Bridge and a big push to repave 87 kilometres of Hwy 105 up-the-line, as that highway cracked CAA’s top 10 list of worst roads in Quebec this summer.
It was a province-wide cruise for the Coalition Avenir Quebec, as the ruling party swept Quebec in the 43rd Quebec General Election with a whopping 90 seats. TVA projected a CAQ majority win just 10 minutes after polls had closed. A loud roar at the Slush Puppy Centre in Gatineau said it all: François Legault’s CAQ had crushed it again.
“When I say Quebecers form a great nation, I mean all Quebecers from all regions, of all ages, of all origins,” said Legault, who won his own riding of L’Assomption with 58 per cent of the vote. “I’m going to be the premier of all Quebecers.”
Voter turnout was just over 66 per cent, which was slightly higher than 2018 numbers.