Quebec cabbies staged a protest today near the site of the Montreal Formula 1 Grand Prix, to show their support for Bill 100, proposed legislation that if passed, would regulate ridesharing services such as Uber.
CBC News reports organizers noted nearly 1,000 taxis attended the protest, gathering at the de la Concorde bridge, slowing traffic to and from Sainte-Hélène and Notre-Dame islands, as drivers congregated in groups holding up anti-Uber signs and union flags.
Image via CBC News
Benoît Jugand, a spokesman for the taxi union which has nearly 4,000 drivers and owners in the province, said “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.”
Jugand said they were ready to “protest all summer long,” if Bill 100 is not passed. Protesting at and possibly disrupting major events is the industry’s way to gain attention to their cause. The government says Bill 100 could pass into law by Friday, June 10th.
Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), which opposes Bill 100, says it will hurt consumers if Uber leaves the province. They were the target of today’s protest, with Jugand calling the public to tell CAQ leader François Legault to “stop doing what he’s doing,” adding “There’s a bill that needs to be adopted there’s five days left it needs to be done.”
Bill 100, if passed, would mean Uber drivers would require permits to operate or face heavy fines, ranging from $2,500 to $25,000, with companies facing up to $50,000 penalties for violations.
Last week, Uber proposed some compromises to Bill 100, such as the creation and purchase of special ride-sharing permits for drivers, but the province has failed to listen so far or negotiate.