The Quebec Superior Court has ruled that a request by the Montreal Climate Coalition (MCC) and Trainsparence to halt progress on a Montreal proposed light rail project (REM) merited serious consideration. The decision came in a hearing to quash that injunction by the Caisse de depot and the Government of Quebec.
The MCC and Trainsparence welcomed the court’s decision to reserve judgment until careful consideration can be given to the case. A decision will come later.
“We are satisfied because, by taking this motion under advisement, the court is confirming that we raised serious questions of law that merit thorough review. Today’s decision indicates the court does not agree with the claim by the Caisse de dépôt and the government that our case was ‘totally groundless,’ ” explained Matthew Chapman, President of the MCC.
“The judge ruled that legitimate legal questions had to be considered. The debate surrounding the REM had grown so heated, an impartial body was needed to review the case,” added Laurent Howe, spokesperson for Trainsparence.
The MCC and Trainsparence argue the REM light rail project would cut into the existing mass transit network and would not significantly improve mobility in Montreal. The coalitions predict that building the REM would cost at least $10 billion, and operating it would result in multi-million-dollar deficits each year. Virtually all the valuable resources sunk into the REM would be wasted.
In March 2016, a citizen group filed a motion with Superior Court to block the light rail project and refer it to the Office of Public Hearings on the Environment (BAPE) to ensure effective, transparent and respectful consultation with Quebeckers. The motion made reference to the BAPE’s hard-hitting report on the project and alleged that the consultation process thus far is flawed.
This motion was filed and supported by, among others, the Trainsparence coalition, the MCC, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the group Pour un meilleur projet que le REM. The following organizations have also added their support: the Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain de la CSN, le Sierra Club Québec, the Green Coalition, Sauvons l’Anse-à-l’Orme, Sauvons la Falaise, Option Transport durable, the Friends of Meadowbrook Park and the Citizens’ Climate Lobby.