Air quality: the question of the ballot box in Rouyn-Noranda? | Elections Quebec 2022
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The air quality file divides in Rouyn-Noranda.
In the riding of Rouyn-Noranda/Témiscamingue, the air quality file and arsenic emissions from the Horne Smelter could have a significant impact on the outcome of the vote on October 3.
By questioning citizens, we feel that the issue is increasingly divisive within the population and is even encouraging some people to vote for the first time.
Julie Fortier lives in the Notre-Dame district of Rouyn-Noranda, near the Horne Foundry. Many in the neighborhood openly support the re-election of Émilise Lessard-Therrien, from Québec solidaire. Some even have election posters of the outgoing MP.
Finally, we have someone who has taken a stand and it's really clear. The demands, we must hear them, we must ensure that all this data is public, she explains.
Julie Fortier, resident of the Notre-Dame neighborhood in Rouyn-Noranda.
Words that join Guillaume Proulx, who lives even closer to the Horne Foundry. Not very inclined to vote in recent years, he also intends to support the member for Québec solidaire.
I think the issue is so important in our lives that it is worth mobilizing, to put all the chances on our side to transform our environment and ensure that we respect the provincial standard of 3 nanograms, affirms- he.
Guillaume Proulx, resident of the Notre-Dame district.
3 ng/m3 within 4 years
3 ng/m3 within 4 years
Future Quebec Coalition
15 ng/m3 within 5 years
Liberal Party of Quebec
No encrypted commitment
Conservative Party of Quebec
No encrypted engagement
Source: Information from the respective parties
Émilise Lessard-Therrien has been campaigning since 2019 for the achievement of the provincial standard of 3 nanograms of arsenic per cubic meter in the air (ng/m3) annually.
Some feel that it has gone too far, however. This is the case of Martin Lapierre, who also lives in the Notre-Dame district. He is also one of 600 employees at the Horne Foundry.
In fact, she doesn't say openly that she wants the foundry closed, but when it is said that we want 3 nanograms tomorrow morning, when no foundry in the world does it, it's a closure they want, he argues.
Martin Lapierre, resident of the Notre-Dame district and employee of the Horne Foundry.< /p>
He says the business needs to improve, but the outgoing MP is pushing too hard.
Sometimes, with the words of Ms. Émilise, we have the impression as workers that we are participating in a genocide. This is exaggeration and at some point, you have to come back to earth, he says.
These remarks are echoed by many colleagues who say they want to vote strategically on the October 3 to ensure the defeat of the color bearer of Québec solidaire.
There is no guideline, everyone is free to vote as they want, but it is certain that we are mobilizing to try to elect another candidate, underlines Jonathan Tremblay, another employee of the Horne Foundry .
The file that stands out in Abitibi for the elections is without a doubt the Horne Foundry. Voters in Rouyn-Noranda-Témiscamingue are divided on the issue of air quality. Two visions clash: Québec solidaire wants to force the foundry to meet the provincial arsenic emission standard within four years. But the CAQ is going for a much less ambitious target. Report by Jean-Marc Belzile.
The issue arouses passions and attracts new voters on both sides.
In my view, the current MP acted more like an activist than a thoughtful politician. She was very inclined towards the demonstrations, the claims, and she did not seek to deepen the subject, told us the teacher in electrical engineering technology at the Cégep de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Patrick Mainil.
He assures that he is not used to voting in provincial elections, but that he felt challenged by the air quality file this year.
Patrick Mainil, teacher of electrical engineering technology at Cégep de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue .
A strategic vote could well favor the CAQ candidate Daniel Bernard, perceived as the main opponent of the outgoing MP, but the multiple threats of closure of the foundry of Prime Minister François Legault have also weighed heavily on the employees.
I think he may have spoken too quickly and that he did not look at all the issues, believes for his part Jonathan Tremblay.
While the debate in Rouyn-Noranda holds all the attention, the prefect of Témiscamingue, Claire Bolduc, points out that this file has a major impact on the entire riding.
Let's be clear: it hurts everyone and in every possible way. It hurts in terms of health, it hurts economically, it hurts in terms of development, attractiveness and even culturally. It's really locally that we're going to have to pick up the ball again and play it in all solidarity and cohesion, says Ms. Bolduc.
Claire Bolduc, prefect of the MRC de Témiscamingue.
Claire Bolduc also points out that this whole debate surrounding the Horne Foundry overshadows other issues in the riding.
The population of Rouyn-Noranda is understandable for wanting this issue is addressed, but beyond that, there are the issues of transportation, public transit, there are the issues of availability of health care throughout the territory of Rouyn-Noranda/Témiscamingue. There are labor issues, it hits everyone. There are issues of quality in the state of our infrastructures, she specifies.
The supportive MP is indeed intimately linked with the Committee to stop discharges and toxic emissions of Rouyn-Noranda. One of the organization's spokespersons, Nicole Desgagnés, is also its official agent for its election campaign.