Mike-Owen Sebagenzi - Québec Solidaire
Name: Mike-Owen Sebagenzi
Sebagenzi was born in Burundi and immigrated to Quebec after his family faced persecution during the Burundian civil war. His family decided to settle in the Pontiac riding and Sebagenzi studied at Cegep de l’Outaouais and continued his studies at University of Sherbrooke in Political Science. He considers the protection of the environment, housing, as well as social and economic justice to be among his major priorities.
Party: Québec Solidaire
Political spectrum: Left
View on Quebec sovereignty: Quebec Solidaire is a sovereigntist party, but does not seek to impose a referendum on Quebecers. Sovereignty is understood as “giv[ing] ourselves legal and legislative leverage to accomplish the ecological transition, rebuild our public services and regain control over our economy”.
Quebec Solidaire plans to upgrade the CLSC network so that a first line of care is accessible to everyone, including those who don't have access to a family doctor. Sebagenzi also said that his party will promote greater decentralization and put an end to the “all-doctor” model. They will concentrate resources on Info-Santé (811 phone line) to reduce the administrative burden on the healthcare system and allow patients to be redirected to the right care and the right professionals.
Sebagenzi is also committed to raising the salaries of healthcare workers to close the wage gap between Quebec and Ontario and retain healthcare workers. He said that having local community care in Aylmer is an important priority considering its growing population. He said that having more local healthcare services will make the sector less dependent on Ottawa as well as the Hull and Gatineau hospitals.
Sebagenzi shared that Quebec Solidaire plans to make Quebec carbon neutral by 2050 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030. He said that his party plans to invest heavily in public transportation, particularly for the Outaouais region. Quebec Solidaire will increase the funding for the future tramway in Gatineau by $2 billion among other steps which the party announced in their transportation plan for the region on Sunday, “the goal is to allow people to leave the car at home and use active transportation instead.” He said that the party will also create a climate change adaptation fund to prepare for future extreme weather events such as floods and storms as well as other climate disruptions and will increase funding for municipalities to help them fight against climate change.
Sebagenzi is committed to improving the quality of schools in the region by renovating, expanding and making them more environmentally friendly, “At the moment, our schools are dilapidated and must become dynamic learning environments for our youth.” He also said that his party is proposing free primary and secondary education with a 25% reduction in post-secondary tuition feeds. He said that this measure means that special programs such as Independent Educational Programs (IEP) and sports study programs will be free for students. He also said that he will promote improved working conditions for all educational personnel, not only for teachers but support staff as well.
Language and Diversity (Bill 96 and Bill 21):
Quebec Solidaire opposes Bill 21 on the basis that it is seen as discriminatory, particularly towards Muslim women. However, they will maintain the prohibition on wearing religious symbols in situations where there is a security issue.
Quebec Solidaire agrees with several articles in Bill 96 including the measures for French as the language of work and the reduction of tuition fees for Canadian students who want to do their postsecondary studies in French in Quebec. However, Sebagenzi’s party would remove the clause that requires newcomers to learn French in 6 months before having access to public services only in French. He would also call for special status for Indigenous languages and exemptions for Indigenous communities.
Sebagenzi said that the real issue surrounding Bill 96 is the climate that it has created, where immigrants are blamed for the decline of French. He believes the French language is best protected through improving French classes for newcomers and greater investments in French culture. He said that, if elected, his party would invest $230 million in French learning in the workplace as well as regional integration centres. He also said that Quebec Solidaire would offer cultural vouchers of $200 a year for newcomers to participate in Quebec cultural activities and will invest in making Quebec cultural content more accessible on digital platforms.