André Fortin - Liberal Party of Quebec
Name: André Fortin
Fortin grew up in Quyon and currently lives in Aylmer with his wife and two children. In addition to serving as MNA for Pontiac since 2014, he has volunteered on a number of local committees. He is running for re-election because he wants to improve the quality and delivery of healthcare and education services in Aylmer and Pontiac. He is also committed to ensuring that rural Pontiac has opportunities to grow economically.
Fortin shared that “to be the representative of those who raised me and instilled in me their values, and to be able to carry their voice in Quebec City, has been a huge honour and one that I hope residents will bestow upon me once again.”
Party: Liberal Party of Quebec (Parti Libéral du Québec)
Political spectrum: Centre
Position on Quebec sovereignty: The Liberal party identifies as federalist. Fortin expressed that he is not in favour of separation and is proud to be both Canadian and a Quebecer.
Fortin considers access to family doctors to be a starting point for improving healthcare in the province. His party is committed to ensuring that every resident in Quebec has access to a family doctor. He has also put forward a proposal for providing healthcare services locally through increased services at the CLSC, an expansion of the long-term care facility and a walk-in clinic in the heart of Aylmer. His party plans to increase the salaries for nurses by $25,000, as well as healthcare professions in general to close the wage gap between Quebec and Ontario and thereby attract and retain more healthcare workers in the region.
Fortin has pushed for the reopening of the obstetrics unit at the Pontiac hospital at the national assembly in Quebec City and will continue to do so if re-elected, utilising increased salaries as the primary tool to attract healthcare professionals. He will promote a more decentralised healthcare system, stating that his party is committed to giving more decision-making powers to local and regional governments and institutions in Quebec in general.
Fortin finds the protection of the environment is a priority for combating climate change and promoting economic growth. His party plans to promote the use of hydrogen energy as a clean fuel source which will bring new economic opportunities to the region. Fortin added that he will also promote the use of local sustainable energy sources noting that Pontiac has more solar power than anywhere else in the province.
Fortin is committed to improving the quality of education in elementary and secondary schools. He plans to increase the number of teachers at both the elementary and secondary levels and will promote access to master’s in education programs in order to train more teachers. He aims to make sports, arts and study programs free for students and believes this will help decrease the provincial drop out rate which has risen by 30% in the past two years.
Fortin says that he would work to remove the cap on the number of students that can attend English Cegep in order to make it easier for students to stay in the region.
Language and Diversity (Bill 96 and Bill 21):
Fortin voiced his opposition to both Bill 96 and Bill 21 while they were being debated at the National Assembly. He said that a Liberal government would give back the rights that are enshrined in the Quebec Charter and that religious minorities such as a Muslims who choose to wear headscarves should be able to work in public positions. He also said that the Liberal party is committed to removing the notwithstanding clause.
He considers Bill 96 as a step backwards which unfairly burdens Anglophones and Allophones. Fortin would eliminate the 6-month requirement for newly arrived immigrants to learn French before having access to public services only in French and said that Quebecers should have access to public services in both languages including the justice system.
As steps to protect the French language, Fortin said that improving the quality of French education and making French courses free for all residents are key measures, “There is a way to promote our language and culture without trampling on the rights of anglophones, allophones and others. There is a way to encourage people to learn French and to teach it better in our elementary and our high schools. There is a way to give a push in the right direction to a lot of people who already want to learn the language.”