In an open letter, 95 signatories demand a review by the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement dedicated to Quebec's energy future.
“The decarbonization of Quebec is a real social project”, claim the signatories of a letter sent to Prime Minister François Legault. That's why nearly a hundred environmental organizations, academics, elected officials and labor unions are demanding a review by the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE) about the future energy of Quebec.
The signatories took the Prime Minister at his word during his opening speech. Quebec needs to have a real social debate on the energy issue, he had claimed.
For the moment, only public consultations on a future bill, led by Minister of the Economy Pierre Fitzgibbon, are scheduled for next fall.
We do not yet know the form they will take, but we do know that they will be limited to the industrial rate of Hydro-Québec and to the function of the Régie de l'énergie du Québec.
“The future of energy is not just energy. It is the future of Quebec that is at stake. »
—Anne-Céline Guyon, project manager and climate expert, Nature Québec
The decarbonization of the economy is intimately linked […] to the modes of production, consumption, housing and travel that underpin our energy consumption, argue the 110 signatories of the letter sent to the Committee on the economy and the energy transition chaired by François Legault.
It is therefore essential to mobilize all the players in society to determine Quebec's economic orientations and industrial policy with a view to the coming decades, believes the group.
Anne-Céline Guyon of Nature Quebec wants Environment Minister Benoit Charette to demand a review of the Office of public hearings on the environment devoted to the energy future of Quebec.
A review by the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE) would be the ideal tool, according to organizations and citizens. It has proven itself in particular by drawing up the inventory of the management of ultimate residues or by studying the GNL Québec project.
The BAPE has everything to ensure a neutral and exhaustive examination environmental, social and economic issues, they argue.
The regions targeted for the construction of electric dams or for the development of critical metal mines will undergo major upheavals.
For the group, traveling hearings across Quebec would allow the population to fully understand the potential and the real impacts of each energy sector.
Industrial development already divides certain municipalities like Duhamel, which is full of graphite.
“We need to be heard in regions where mining claims cause already a problem.
—David Pharand, Mayor of Duhamel
The BAPE is synonymous with impartiality and credibility, according to the mayor. The population has confidence in the BAPE process and understands that decisions will not be made behind a closed door, maintains David Pharand.
Like the mayor of Duhamel, Équiterre says no to closed doors and the restricted circle of decision-makers.
The Minister of the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon
The omnipresence of the Minister of the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, is not reassuring environmentalists on the direction of consultation.
“Exclusive public consultation must be taken out of the hands of Minister Fitzgibbon to ensure that it is not directed towards a single objective: economic development. »
— Marc-André Viau, Director, Government Relations, Équiterre
The BAPE review should not be limited in its scope, explain the signatories. They demand a generic BAPE that would have the mandate to address the decarbonization of the Quebec energy system as a whole.
For Nature Québec, the objective of the hearings of a generic BAPE would be to whether we will be able to maintain the same level of energy consumption without aggravating social inequalities and the biodiversity crisis.
This letter was also sent to the Minister of l' Environment, Benoit Charette. He has the power to order the holding of a BAPE examination. The conclusions of such an exercise would serve as a guide for the government in power.