Quebec taxi drivers threaten summer of protests if Uber bill isn't passed
Organizers say demonstrations will continue if legislation regulating Uber not passed
Taxi drivers around Quebec staged a protest today near the site of Montreal's Formula 1 Grand Prix race in support of Bill 100, the Quebec government's proposed legislation for regulating ride-hailing services like Uber.
Organizers say up to 1,000 taxis from around Quebec were at the protest.
Taxis gathered at the de la Concorde bridge that links Montreal with Sainte-Hélène and Notre-Dame islands, where traffic was slowed by parked taxis and drivers hanging out in groups, many bearing signs or flying union flags.
Police officers were also present.
Major events in Quebec face disruption
The location of today's protest near the site of this weekend's F1 Grand Prix race was a reminder of taxi industry threats to disrupt major public events if Uber is not regulated before the National Assembly rises for the summer.
"We hope we're going to be able to transport people who are going to attend the Grand Prix on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. But if there's no law, we're going to be there but we are going to be protesting," Benoît Jugand, a spokesman for the union representing some 4,000 taxi drivers and owners in Quebec.
"We're going to protest all summer long."
The government has said it wants to pass the bill into law by June 10.
CAQ faces criticism
The opposition Coalition Avenir Québec was the target of Monday's protest for its efforts to stall the bill's passage.
CAQ has argued that Bill 100 will ultimately hurt consumers in Quebec by limiting their options if it results in Uber being forced out of the province.
Jugand called on CAQ leader François Legault to let the bill pass.
"I invite everybody to call Mr. Legault and tell them to stop doing what he's doing," he said.
"There's a bill that needs to be adopted there's five days left it needs to be done."
The protest is the latest in a string of demonstrations by Quebec taxi drivers this year in support of new rules for Uber.
If passed, Bill 100 will require "remunerated passenger transportation services," including UberX, to use a taxi permit or face stiff fines.
Anyone offering taxi transportation services without holding a permit would face fines of $2,500 to $25,000. The company could be fined up to $50,000.
The legislation could effectively shut Uber out of Quebec.
The company has proposed a number of compromise solutions to counter the new rules set out in Bill 100, but the Quebec government has shown little interest in negotiating.