A whisper in the Bas-Saint-Laurent

What is fascinating is that they all talk about it in the same terms: the consequences of climate change are already visible, we have to adapt our infrastructure, our economy, imagine a green recovery. In terms of the environment, the electoral platforms all have this falsely determined tone in which empty formulas are linked. The premise, apparently, elicits a consensus.

Looking at the details, one quickly sees that there is a cancer in the race, or several cancers, gathered under the banner of the Conservative Party. The document presenting theErin O’Toole to fight against climate change is a curious text, where each apparently “green” proposal is immediately contradicted by a remark on the need to prioritize employment, recovery and development of industry. When it is not simply a question of ignoring the requirements of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The dunce is conservative, therefore, but all parties, to varying degrees, end up reproducing this process. In the public sphere, we are delighted to see the environmental issue impose itself on the rank of priorities. However, we do not worry that this issue is treated, at best, on an equal footing with others. Without seeing that this is the question that structures all the others. Without seeing that it is inseparable from the economy, employment, transport – all human activity and democratic life.

Perfect romanticism

In Bas-Saint-Laurent, an independent candidate is not fooled. Noémi Bureau-Civil, who runs in Rimouski-Neigette – Témiscouata – Les Basques, has chosen to lead a campaign “for a chosen degrowth”. This is the first application of its kind in Canada. Originally from Rimouski, having been a physiotherapist in Montreal for several years, Noémi Bureau-Civil now lives in a mini-house installed on the land of an organic market gardener, in Saint-Valérien. She works as a market gardener and devotes the rest of her time to civic engagement.

“In Saint-Valérien, we have a community where projects are being set in motion to move in the right direction, that is to say to rebuild the social fabric,” she explains to me. We often hear about municipalities becoming devitalized, but here, it’s the opposite: there are spaces to pool ideas, resources, time, in order to build projects that have meaning for the community. and which are in tune with the environment. “

Reclaiming your time, organizing your life so that salaried work does not take up all the space, participating in collective organization projects: this scenario is perfectly romantic, the neorural fantasy par excellence. Moreover, degrowth, the term at least, has seen a surge in popularity in recent years. Especially with millennials, who see nothing but a wall standing in front of them. I’m in.

We thus speak of degrowth in every way, often reducing it to an ethical, even aesthetic posture. Or we consider it as a simple diet of consumption; as if it were possible to tame the excesses of capitalist growth through individual asceticism.

The current discourse in the environment

Well aware of these pitfalls, Noémi Bureau-Civil intends instead to use the electoral campaign to shed light on the blind spots of the current discourse on the environment. “The priority for all parties remains economic growth. However, it has been shown that growth is inseparable from ecological ravages. At best, some parties will promise sustainable development. But this principle is based on the assumption that it is possible to decouple economic growth from ecological devastation, ”she explains. A form of blindness that has reached its limit.

Still, it is difficult to say that in the face of an Erin O’Toole, to return to him, who gives himself the good role by claiming to want to defend the environment, but not “on the back” of the workers. O’Toole does it uninhibitedly, but this false opposition is found in the subtext of all election speeches. When we talk about the fight against climate change, we often act as if it were a moral issue, and not a demand posed by a concrete emergency, manifestly dangerous for “workers” and “l ‘economy’, precisely. We do not talk much about the price to pay for the current laxity.

Noémi Bureau-Civil maintains that degrowth allows precisely a change of perspective and to link social inequalities – the reality of the workers that one claims to want to defend – with the climate crisis. “Degrowth is a movement that takes into account the injustices experienced by people and populations left behind by the economic system. This system requires that there be dominants and dominated, people who are constantly getting poorer. We must rebuild another economy, an economy of nature and human dignity. “

It is easy, some will say, to go so far out of the box when running outside a party, in a constituency where the member for Bloc Quebecois, Maxime Blanchette-Joncas, should be re-elected without too much difficulty. The fact remains that this is the expression of an increasingly widespread dissatisfaction. Hopefully this whisper is heard before giving way to despair.

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