Local Deputy optimistic as ever
The Quebec National Assembly resumed sitting, last week, after the winter break. In attendance for the thirteenth year in a row, even when the Quebec Liberals weren’t in power, was Orford deputy Pierre Reid.
In an in-depth interview with the Stanstead Journal, Mr. Reid first spoke about his government’s new Cabinet. “I’m very happy that we have a new Minister in the region. Luc Fortin is young but he is a very good politician with lots of experience working in the office of Jean Charest, so he has a lot of contacts in most ministries,” commented Mr. Reid who admitted that he was not expecting or hoping for a nomination himself. “My son is eight years old now so I wasn’t looking for that; either my son or the riding would suffer.”
“I think the emphasis has been put on the economy. Two strong, intelligent women have been named as Ministers, Lise Theriault and Dominique Anglade. Ms. Theriault knows the needs of small and medium sized businesses and there are lots of those in our area. They both understand what’s going on in our region, that our economy is changing. The kinds of jobs we had in Stanstead and Magog before are now in Mexico and we have a mix of industry now. Technology businesses are growing fast. More than thirty businesses came to Magog in the last year. There are three hundred new people working in technology there, and if we can attract that number of people they will buy groceries, houses, other things, and that will bring jobs to everyone,” said Mr. Reid.
The Orford deputy continued enthusiastically about the idea of a ‘technology cluster’ in the region. “There is talk in Quebec about funding new projects, creating incubators. Magog Technopole is already successful.” Mr. Reid came out in favour of the construction of a new building for Magog Technopole, whose mandate is to create a vibrant ICT community, at the site of the Maison Tourigny. “After all the studies done on this building it was clear that the government would not put money into it. The space that will be freed up will allow for a new building which will be an ‘incubator’ of technology businesses. You need a big space for this; having ICT businesses all together creates innovation. That’s how Silicon Valley was built.”
Looking back over 2015, Mr. Reid commented: “2015 was a good year. It was like building the basement of what the economy will be, and it’s working.” Coming up in 2016, the local economy will be Mr. Reid’s first concern. “I also made a commitment to develop a better appreciation of all heritage buildings, like the Maison Merry and the Colby-Curtis Museum in Stanstead. There are also concerns in the English community, especially regarding the schools, and I will try to be present when representatives from the English community come to Quebec to talk about the project of school board reform.”
“Rachel Hunting, of the Townshippers’ Association, has concerns about services for Englishspeaking youth in the region. Karine Vallieres is now the Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier for youth, so I asked her to talk with Rachel Hunting and see if we really have what is needed to help English youth find jobs,” he added.
The selling of home renovations retailer Rona to U.S. retailer Lowe’s was debated last week at the National Assembly. “Some people wonder if the new owners would continue to buy from Canadian businesses. If we want to compete with India and China, we must have quality goods. We’re not that good at marketing Quebec products but we have quality products. If the Lowe’s deal goes through, we would have a bigger market for Quebec products. We may need to provide help for growth,” said the deputy.
“There’s lots of change going on now regarding the environment. Because of the new Prime Minister who has agreed to some international commitments, there will be new strategies, new laws. There used to be lots of aggressive discussions with the previous government but now everyone is cooperating; we all have the same basic objectives and goals.”
Mr. Reid still seems to be enjoying his role as representative of the region. “The best part of my job happens right here in the riding, where I live and where I hope my son will live when he is older.”
Orford Deputy Pierre Reid knows the riding well after thirteen years as its representative in Quebec.