The energy vision of Pierre Fitzgibbon, between growth and sobriety
Pierre Fitzgibbon became the strong man of the Legault government by being responsible for Energy and Innovation, while retaining his powers over economic development.
Pierre Fitzgibbon retains his position as Minister of the Economy, in addition to inheriting other powers in matters of Innovation and Energy.
Barely renamed Minister of the Economy and promoted with major political responsibilities, Pierre Fitzgibbon suggested that Quebecers will have to comply with a form of energy sobriety in the coming years if the province wants to respect its environmental commitments.
We consume far too much electricity as residents, declared the Minister of the Economy immediately after the swearing-in ceremony for the new Council of Ministers.
Reappointed to his economic functions by François Legault, Mr. Fitzgibbon also inherited significant powers in the areas of Innovation and Energy.
If he wishes to use renewable energy to create collective wealth and to achieve our objectives in the fight against climate change, Pierre Fitzgibbon has also surreptitiously slipped in the concept of energy sobriety as an electricity shortage looms on the 2030 horizon.
< p class="e-p">At the heart of the dilemma, this question: the industrial and economic development of Quebec needs a lot of energy. To compensate, will it be necessary to impose sobriety on individuals?
Questioned on possible actions to force Quebecers to limit their electricity consumption, Pierre Fitzgibbon confirmed future measures and underlined the role that Hydro-Québec was playing in this file.
There is a lot of work to be done to modulate consumption, and that Hydro-Québec has under control, declared the minister, even raising the question of carrying it out as quickly as possible, because there is a source of terawatt hours that Hydro-Québec can take to put them elsewhere, he added, without however specifying what elsewhere meant.
The challenge is daunting: Quebec will need an additional 100 terawatt hours (TWh) of energy if the province is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, according to the 2022-2026 strategic plan tabled by Hydro-Québec. This represents almost half of the annual production of the state corporation.
According to several media, the CEO of Hydro-Québec, Sophie Brochu, allegedly threatened to resign if the Legault government gave priority to energy-intensive projects at the expense of others favorable to the environment, which could put the province's energy system at risk.
From his first public address as minister after the election campaign, Pierre Fitzgibbon reiterated his confidence in the state-owned electricity supplier, while emphatically recalling the power he wields over it.
“Obviously, as a government, we are the shareholder, the ultimate objectives must be taken into account, but Hydro-Québec has a very, very good track record, qualified human resources; it is a matter of working together on the same common goal. »
— Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy and Energy
In a humorous tone, Hydro-Québec's communications department posted a message on Twitter in the wake of his appointment: Resistance and tension are normal in our profession, but in the end, the 'important is that the current passes, could we read in caption of a screenshot of Facebook profile where Sophie Brochu asks Pierre Fitzgibbon to join his circle of friends.
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Following the unveiling of his ministers, François Legault announced on Thursday the creation of a new committee on the economy and energy transition.
Under his chairmanship, it will include the Ministers of Economy, Finance, Environment, Energy Transition, First Nations and Inuit as well as the CEO of Hydro-Québec, Sophie Brochu.
I am committed to working on it and putting a lot of energy into it in the coming months, assured Mr. Legault in his welcoming speech. new Council of Ministers where he hinted that the objective would be to define the energy future of the province.
More wind turbines? New dams on Quebec soil? Dams are not a strategy, they are a result, retorted in turn Minister Fitzgibbon without developing further. We have to look at the desirable projects, he simply summed up, indicating that he wanted to update the studies on the province's energy future.
Many companies will want to have a lot of energy, he warned, also citing the use of biofuel and biorefineries.
For Benoit Charette, the Minister of the Environment also reappointed, the climate challenge is a great economic opportunity. It is a position that we want to occupy with more confidence, he added, repeating the political communication line of the Legault government.
Benoit Charette was reappointed Minister of the Environment.
Québec solidaire co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, who took up the environmental cause to distinguish himself from his opponents in the election campaign, denounced the appointments of several ministers of the new Legault government.
That of Pierre Fitzgibbon at the head of a super-ministry is simply worrying, he said.
He has been blamed several times by the Ethics Commissioner, and François Legault gives him even more power, was indignant Mr. Nadeau-Dubois who said he understood the apprehensions of the CEO of Hydro -Québec.
“The Prime Minister's blind faith in Mr. Fitzgibbon does not bode well. Hydro-Québec is not a business like any other, it is a collective tool that must serve the common good. »
— Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, MP and co-spokesperson for Québec solidaire
In June 2021, Mr. Fitzgibbon stepped down as Minister of the Economy following a report by the Ethics Commissioner to the National Assembly. This was the third report in less than a year on the ethical behavior of Pierre Fitzgibbon.