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Former Minister of Wildlife claims authorship of caribou protection measures

Photo: Jacques Boissinot La Presse canadienne Pierre Dufour, aujourd’hui simple député d’Abitibi-Est, pilotait le ministère de la Forêt, de la Faune et des Parcs dans le dernier mandat caquiste.

Former Minister of Wildlife Pierre Dufour had proposed specific measures in 2021 to protect the mountain caribou of Gaspésie, he revealed on Wednesday. His intention was to table a “block” strategy, as his successor, Benoit Charette, did this week.

“It was a proposal that I had done,” said Mr. Dufour, now a simple deputy for Abitibi-Est, who led the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks in the last CAQ mandate. “What was said was: “No, we are going to try to work on a strategy coast to coast, from east to west, in Quebec. ” »

The current Minister of the Environment, Benoit Charette, presented on Tuesday a series of measures intended to protect 3 of the 13 populations of forest and mountain caribou inhabiting Quebec territory. Among these, the herd of around thirty individuals housed between the mountains of Gaspésie Park.

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The government of François Legault has been promising for more than five years the submission of a national caribou protection strategy. Hanging at the start of question period on Wednesday, Mr. Dufour welcomed his successor's decision to work by region.

“When we tackle general issues like that, it’s very, very difficult not to do it in blocks,” he told Devoir, revealing at the same time that he had put forward specific measures to save the mountain caribou of Gaspésie three years ago.

< p> “It is certain and certain that [I would have focused] particularly on the situation of the mountain caribou, because it was the only species of this type that we had,” he said. said.

Targeted strategy

Tuesday, the federal Minister of the Environment , Steven Guilbeault, had sharply criticized the measures envisaged by the Legault government, accusing it of ignoring the situation of several caribou populations.

“The government of Quebec must publish a strategy for all boreal caribou populations in Quebec, including immediate interim measures,” he indicated in a press release.

< p>Questioned about the reaction of Ottawa, which had requested the submission of a document before May 1, Minister Charette deplored that “the federal government does not have more sensitivity for the regions”.

“I am worried to see the federal government mentioning the possibility of decrees, when we have regions that live exclusively from forestry. This must be taken into account,” he argued. Minister Guilbeault has not ruled out intervening by decree in Quebec territory in order to protect the forest caribou herds which have not been the subject of specific measures.

In addition to the Gaspé herd, the populations of Charlevoix – around thirty individuals at the last count – and part of the caribou of the North Shore will be targeted by protection measures from Quebec. Minister Benoit Charette will also allow logging and mining activities to be carried out within the territories occupied by these deer.

In total, 11 of the 13 groups identified in Quebec territory are today “at risk” of disappearing. This is the case, among others, of the Val-d'Or herd, which last reported less than ten animals.

With Marie-Michèle Sioui

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116