PQ’s Breton wants to join Elec­tri­fi­ca­tion band­wagon

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Staff Ma­gog

It’s not of­ten that some­one sees a plug-in car around here, even less so in an in­dus­trial set­ting, but this is the sight that met the press as they en­tered the Gspek plant in Ma­gog, last Fri­day, for a PQ press con­fer­ence on the econ­omy and elec­tri­fi­ca­tion.

The elec­tric plugged car, a GM Volt, is owned by Éric Grave­son, pres­i­dent of Gspek, an as­sem­bly shop in the Ma­gog in­dus­trial park who does sub­con­tract­ing for Water­ville TG, build­ing the lowly gas­kets that make or break a car sat­is­fac­tion in­dex with cus­tomers, BMW be­ing one hell of a tough client.

So be­fore the press con­fer­ence started for­mally, there was a lot of dis­cus­sion on var­i­ous elec­tric cars, in­clud­ing the Tesla with its un­reach­able price, but owned by some­one from the re­gion.

As the sub­ject of the press con­fer­ence was on the elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of trans­port, at least the host and the guest had an idea of what they were talk­ing about.

Or­ford PQ can­di­date, Michel Breton, along with Alain Ther­rien, who is the Par­lia­men­tary as­sis­tant to the Min­is­ter of Fi­nance, was there to present the Parti Québé­cois plan to use more elec­tric­ity to power ve­hi­cles and also lever­age the huge ex­per­tise that uni­ver­si­ties and Hy­dro-Québec have de­vel­oped over the years, both in mo­tori­sa­tion and stor­age.

Way back when, in the 90’s, Que­bec was at the fore­front of the field with two ma­jor in­ven­tions: The ‘Mo­tor­wheel’ and a new type of bat­tery, both the re­sult of work done at the

Univer­sité du Québec, INRS- Én­ergie and Hy­dro-Que­bec’s IREQ. Po­lit­i­cal in­fight­ing, both be­came po­lit­i­cal bal­loons for the Parti Québe­cois who could only point to some shenani­gans from the last cou­ple of years of Bourassa’s last term in of­fice to put both pro­grams in jeop­ardy, helped by the Amer­i­can car in­dus­try which was do­ing any­thing in its power to kill the ba­sic idea of an elec­tric car.

Mr. Breton, along with Mr. Grave­son, wanted to stress that the Ma­gog re­gion is a hub in the car man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­ness and that the hun­dreds of jobs re­lated to the in­dus­try in the re­gion must profit from govern­ment pro­grams re­lated to elec­tri­fi­ca­tion.

BRP, orig­i­nally Bom­bardier, Water­ville TG and Camo­plast Solideal, in Ma­gog, be­ing the best known en­ter­prises in the in­dus­try in the im­me­di­ate re­gion. It is ru­mored that Bom­bardier is test­ing a fully elec­tric Spy­der, its three wheel mo­tor­cy­cle.

Mr. Ther­rien wanted to stress that the Lib­er­als had re­fused to en­dorse the con­cept of hav­ing the lo­cal CLD act as fore­front for the new ‘Banque de développe­ment du Québec’ which would have folded some of the ac­tiv­i­ties of

In­vestisse­ments Québec into the new en­ti­ties. When asked by this news­pa­per how the re­cent de­ci­sion by the Cana­dian govern­ment to cur­tail the num­ber of so called ‘in­vestors visas’ would cur­tail the ac­tiv­i­ties of

In­vestisse­ments Québec, which heav­ily re­lies on them (mostly Chi­nese) for its lend­ing cap­i­tal, he said that the govern­ment was look­ing into the de­ci­sion.

It was the week for the lo­cal econ­omy as, the day be­fore, in­cum­bent Pierre Reid’s weekly press brief­ing was on the same theme, the Lib­eral can­di­date stress­ing that bet­ter co­or­di­na­tion is es­sen­tial to de­velop the in­dus­trial sec­tor in his rid­ing. “We have ex­cel­lent schools and uni­ver­si­ties to train work­ers, but they must work hand in hand with the pri­vate sec­tor.” He also stressed that his pet project of help­ing older work­ers who have not com­pleted high school is go­ing well. He cited the lo­cal hospi­tal who is now hir­ing these types of work­ers and some pri­vate in­dus­tries who do also. “Their work ex­pe­ri­ence com­pen­sates for their lack of for­mal train­ing and can help a lot of em­ploy­ers.” He also an­nounced that some in­vest­ments may be com­ing to the rid­ing, re­fus­ing, as he as al­ways done, to an­nounce what is not signed.

(Dis­claimer: The writer has known Pierre Cou­ture, the in­ven­tor of the Mo­tor­wheel, when they both served on the Board of Gov­er­nors of l’Univer­sité du Québec

in the 1970’s.)

Photo Stanstead Jour­nal

On the Gspek fac­tory floor, PQ can­di­date Michel Breton and his col­league Alain Ther­rien.

Photo Stanstead Jour­nal

Pierre Reid at his weekly press con­fer­ence.

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