Deputy for Brome-Missisquoi (CAQ), delegated minister of Education, Isabelle Charest is also a former high level athlete, three-time Olympic medallist in speed skating, chef de mission during the Olympic Games, nutritionist, communicator, entrepreneur. Obviously Isabelle Charest did not enter politics in October 2018, under the CAQ banner, to make a name for herself – she already had one. She was looking for a new challenge. After nearly a year in the National Assembly, she discussed several hot local and regional topics with us.
TEMPO: • Lack of doctors: when will Knowlton’s medical clinic receive one or more new doctors?
We (representatives of the CIUSSS d’Estrie, regional and local political representatives and the la Pommeraie local network) have pulled out all stops with the Minister of Health so new doctors can come and practice in our area. Recently, three new posts have been opened up in Estrie (of which Lac Brome is part). A first victory. But we must wait to find out if Lac-Brome will benefit from this. It involves negotiations among the representatives of the nine Réseaux locaux de santé (RLS), who must agree among themselves, and respect the choices of the doctors themselves. Also, bear in mind that Coaticook and Magog are experiencing even more difficult situations than TBL is.
• Police services. TBL is trying to obtain authorization to be served by the Bromont police force. What’s new on this front?
A special meeting was held in June between local authorities and the minister of Public Security. All participants came away feeling confident that their case was heard and that the proposal would likely go ahead. But we cannot assume this. A change of this nature will require a private law. TBL is known for attracting many tourists, cottage owners and visitors. In this context police surveillance must be constant and reinforced. We should know by the fall how this will turn out.
• Recycling of glass and other materials. In Quebec recycling is in a very sad state. Will the CAQ, which is not known for being concerned with environmental matters, take action on this front?
A total of $1.6 billion was allocated to the environment in our latest budget. In the spring, environmental matters monopolized a large portion of the debates at the CAQ’s general council meetings. We cannot be complacent on this. We must prepare for the coming energy transition. Criticism is easy. Our government has already adopted a regulation on the tracing of contaminated soils, announced an overhaul of the Green Fund (a huge mess of the Liberals), and have reorganized Recyc-Québec. In mid-August a parliamentary commission held hearings on upgrading used glass and recycling. I cannot wait for their recommendations, as I am well aware that we must send clear signals to our municipalities.
• What Brome-Missisquoi projects do you particularly hold close to your heart?
Lack of manpower presents the biggest challenge for our society. We need to innovate, reinvent our processes, foster automation, ensure that professional training meets the needs of
industry, among other things. As for young people, I am involved with Knowlton Rowing, which is seeking funds for new equipment; there will be a rowing program with Massey-Vanier school. No need to tell you I encourage sports projects, as I was personally heavily involved in competitive sports. My office is assisting TBL in two grant applications for its new town centre.
Isabelle Charest will be present one Friday each month in her satellite office in Lac-Brome, at 297C Knowlton Road.
Translation: Tam Davis