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CAQ still hasn’t fulfilled promise to reduce hospital parking rates – Montreal

Reducing parking fees in hospitals is not so simple, suggested Quebec Health Minister Danielle McCann on Tuesday.

Currently, anyone who parks at a hospital is looking at a rate of about $25 a day in Montreal.

During the election campaign, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) promised to make parking free for the first two hours, and then introduce rates ranging from $7 to $10 a day.

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Now, the minister isn’t so sure that’s possible, saying the government would need to find the money somewhere else to compensate health facilities.

Lévis MNA François Paradis, who sits as president of the National Assembly, previously said he felt that the Liberal government was taking advantage of the misfortune of patients and their loved ones by maintaining high rates.

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However, in its last provincial budget, the Legault government did not provide any money to fulfill its promise to reduce rates.

Nevertheless, McCann reiterated that the promise will be fulfilled before the end of the term in 2022.

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“We have not given a specific date, we cannot at this time. We must work in co-ordination with, obviously, the budget,” she said.

“We have to do some work on the parking lots also, because when we implement new parking fees, we have to be sure that the people who use the lots are really people who are coming to the hospital.”

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On Tuesday, McCann tried to justify her decision to postpone reducing the rates by claiming that she has been busy, for a year, achieving “several” other commitments.

“Well, listen, we have bills coming here. It takes a while to fulfill certain commitments… We must do things the right way,” insisted the minister, noting that she froze parking rates upon receiving her dossier.

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Quebec’s budget surplus is expected to reach $4.3 billion this year, according to the Institut du Québec, after the payment to the Generations Fund of about $3.1 billion.

It could even exceed $5 billion, according to other estimates.

Earlier this month, Premier François Legault warned Quebecers that the billions in surpluses are already earmarked to fulfill some costly election promises, such as cutting the school tax and increasing family allowances.

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