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Maria-Luisa Torres-Piaggio for CAQ

Maria-Luisa Torres-Piaggio, who has more than 20 years of experience as a lawyer, is running under the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) banner for the riding of Westmount-St-Louis.

Offense (LD): Can you tell us about your motivations and goals? Why are you interested in politics and why have you decided to run in the 2022 provincial election under the CAQ banner?

Maria-Luisa Torres-Piaggio (MT): I have been involved in Coalition avenir Québec since 2011 because I believe in the vision, values ​​and goals of this political party. I am of Italian-Peruvian descent and have lived in Quebec for 24 years. I have a law degree from a Peruvian university and I have a master’s degree in civil law and another in international law. During my 20-year career as a lawyer, I was a manager at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Peru, which allowed me to serve as a diplomatic attache to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal. My political commitment is part of my desire to continue to introduce laws, regulations and programs that will allow the people of Quebec to imagine a better future. We are a modern nationalist party whose main goal is to ensure the development and prosperity of the Quebec nation in Canada while proudly defending its autonomy, language, values ​​and culture.

LD: What would be your priority files and issues if elected?

MT: The promotion of Quebec culture is a priority of the CAQ government. The numbers speak for themselves: the budget of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec increased by more than 50% and the budget of the Société de développement des entreprises culturelle by 143%. Record sums! The second issue would be security. In recent years, Quebec has seen an increase in gun violence, particularly in the Montreal area. Public Safety Minister Geneviève Guilbault has addressed this issue specifically by giving our police officers more resources to fight arms trafficking and organized crime. The third concern is helping the elderly. Still too many seniors are forced to live in precarious conditions due to very low income. However, the latter can hardly increase their income to cope with the rising cost of living, which makes them particularly vulnerable. We are committed to increasing the amount of support for senior citizens from the first year of the next mandate. This additional assistance will further protect the purchasing power of people on lower incomes. Quebec also has one of the lowest hospital capacities among comparable jurisdictions, with only two beds per 1,000 residents. The healthcare network must look for innovative solutions to eliminate hospital congestion. Home hospitalization is one of them, as it allows to avoid admission or free up a bed more quickly. But above all, it is an advantageous formula for the patient, because it allows him to be treated in the comfort of his home among his relatives.

LD: Are there any issues specific to McGill University that concern you?

MT: Yes, in case of being elected as a member of parliament, I undertake to consider three specific questions. First, the CAQ government wants to promote an integrated approach to higher education. Both CEGEP and universities are full of potential, which just needs to be better utilized for the benefit of teaching and research. We must support our researchers, professors and students to enable them to work in a stimulating and dynamic environment free from intimidation and censorship, where their expertise is recognized and valued. Let’s protect academic freedom! Supporting the teaching of French is the second issue that concerns me. If French is what sets us apart, it is also what unites us. French is a source of pride, knowledge and beauty to be cherished! It is essential that students are better supported to master their language and ensure their success at school and in the labor market. In its second term, the CAQ government intends to emphasize the teaching of French to young people. In Quebec, Quebec studies in our universities have been on the decline since the 1990s. This situation gradually leads us to lose knowledge about Quebec, its history, its institutions, its problems, its peculiarities and its unique cultural identity in North America. There is a need to increase our support for the university community in Quebec by investing more in research and in particular in Quebec studies.

“The healthcare network must look for innovative solutions to eliminate hospital congestion”

LD: The environment is one of the most important issues for students. What does CAQ offer to help the environment and the climate crisis?

MT: The fight against global warming requires increased use of green energies. This is a fantastic opportunity for Quebec, which has abundant water resources. Thanks to its skilled workforce, hydroelectricity and other renewable energy sources such as wind power, biofuels, geothermal energy and green hydrogen, Quebec is on its way to becoming a leader in the green economy. It is important to remember that Quebec is the place in North America where we produce the least amount of greenhouse gases per capita. To further reduce our emissions, we need to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and increase the percentage of electricity in our economy. This is the goal of the Green Economy Plan. Quebec has set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 37.5% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and wants to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. These are ambitious but realistic goals. To achieve them, CAQ relies on a credible plan backed by statistics and implemented by concrete means. The latter will ensure the transition to carbon neutrality by supporting industries in their transformation and workers in their training. By replacing oil with the electricity we generate, Quebec kills two birds with one stone.

LD: Your election platform states that “it is important to offer newcomers better resources”, could you talk about these resources?

MT: As you know, Quebec is one of the cities that receives the largest number of immigrants relative to its population. However, the integration of immigration into the French reality of Quebec remains a challenge. We need a larger proportion of immigrants to be francophone, and the vast majority of foreign students must go to francophone CEGEPs and universities in all our regions. In the second mandate, we will continue to negotiate with Ottawa to obtain all the necessary powers to receive and integrate immigrants, so that we can provide them with the means to learn the French language that they do not yet know. We will continue to work on the regionalization of immigration, as it must contribute to the vitality of the entire territory of Quebec. I therefore want to work closely with the Ministry of Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration, as well as community organizations on horseback, to offer newcomers more local resources to enable them to quickly integrate into our society. In fact, if elected, I want to continue to support existing organizations and develop others in the riding of Westmount-Saint-Louis.

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