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QS wants to put the environment at the forefront

Photo: Julien Cadena Archives Le Devoir Québec solidaire's environmental spokesperson, Alejandra Zaga Mendez, promises that topics related to the environment will be discussed more often at Québec solidaire.

François Carabin

January 25, 2024

  • Quebec

After an autumn spent, by the party's own admission, focusing more on inflation, Québec solidaire (QS) will return the environment to the rank of “parliamentary priority” in 2024.

On the last day of the fall parliamentary session, in December, the co-spokesperson for the left party, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, agreed that “[the] fundamental priority was the cost of living, it was inflation, because that’s what’s going wrong in the daily lives of Quebecers.” He then took stock of a session during which his party had committed to asking the government at least “one question per day” on the theme of the taxpayers' wallet. In his speech, he did not talk about the fight against climate change.

For a party accustomed to environmental issues – it even presented a climate platform during the 2022 electoral campaign – we were far from tradition. “If we want the world to embark on the ecological transition, it must be able to get its head above water financially,” summarized “GND” to the parliamentary press.

On the eve of the resumption of work in the National Assembly, QS is putting the fight against climate change back at the top of the ladder. It will be a “parliamentary priority” for the coming months, the party announces at the dawn of its pre-sessional caucus. In the midst of the Northvolt saga, he intends to table a bill so that “the population can challenge the BAPE [Bureau d'audiences publique sur l'environnement], and thus ensure the rigorous and independent environmental study of future projects” .

“Without Quebec solidarity, environmental issues risk being completely evacuated from parliamentary debates,” maintains the party.

The environment, “it has always been on the agenda of Québec solidaire, and it will remain so, with more force this year,” said Wednesday in an interview with Le Devoir the spokesperson for environmental training, Alejandra Zaga Mendez, a few hours from the solidarity caucus.

“I think that when you can’t pay for groceries, when you can’t pay the rent, you definitely can’t think of anything else. This is normal, she said. But all this is happening in a context where the climate crisis remains very serious. »

QS needs to be “more proactive,” agrees Ms. Zaga Mendez, in the context of strong opposition to Northvolt’s component production and battery recycling project. “When François Legault talks to us about the environment, it’s just to announce billions of dollars going to foreign companies, to multinationals. For us, the ecological transition must be done with the people of Quebec. »

Environmental democracy

Northvolt is currently the subject of a request for an injunction to stop work carried out on the immense land located in Saint-Basile-le-Grand and McMasterville that it acquired with the objective of installing its mega-factory. Last week, dozens of environmental groups, unions, doctors, citizen groups and academics sent a missive to Quebec Environment Minister Benoit Charette demanding a full environmental assessment of the project.< /p>

If she does not say she is “not against” the battery project, Alejandra Zaga Mendez asks for more “transparency” from the CAQ government, which has modified the rules for the subjugation of battery production factories last summer, a few weeks before announcing in partnership with the federal government the allocation of seven billion dollars in subsidies to the company.

“No one wants a never-ending war of injunctions. To get out of there, you need a BAPE. This is the mechanism we have in Quebec to listen, to make a complete assessment and so that we do not have to resort to the courts, she said. [We must] ensure that the transition is both ecological and democratic. »

The strong return of the environment in the solidarity discourse does not mean the return of any strategy of parliamentary obstruction such as “Ultimatum 2020”, planned by QS before the pandemic. The meeting of solidarity deputies is held for a single day, Thursday, in Laval. The parliamentary session resumes next Tuesday.

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