When ecological rhymes with soft ecological

We know that Francois Legault likes to read to relax. We also know that, if he had to choose, the current Premier of Quebec would always favor the economy and jobs over the environment. How can he be convinced, then, of the gravity of the climate crisis predicted by the international scientific community?

The deputy for Jonquière and former candidate for the chiefdom of Quebec Party Sylvain Gaudreault tries his luck by publishing on September 14 Pragmatic. When the climate dictates political action, an environmental flavor test. His goal ? Explain to politicians who, like Mr. Legault, continue to ignore it, the importance of future climate issues.

As a method, the author revisits commonplaces often used in politics to rhyme ecology with economy. It explains, to those who have not followed the news in the last decade, what the Paris Agreement is and why it is not an end in itself, but the start of a new era. decarbonization and eco-taxation.

A way of disguising as juicy potential business opportunities the sacrifices that future generations of Quebeckers will have to make, a consequence of the lifestyle of current and past generations far beyond their environmental means.

Pressing questions

A necessary masquerade so that even soft environmentalists – a category into which many politicians in no hurry to walk the talk when the time comes to swear on their children’s heads that they take it seriously – to stop lending listen to climate skeptics and other bonzes of more polluting industries who continue to exploit the resources of Quebec and Canada without any consequence other than the fluctuation of their share price on the stock market.

“I also want to give people hope”, adds in an interview to the To have to Sylvain Gaudreault. “With the forest fires this summer and the most recent IPCC report [Groupe d’experts intergouvernemental sur l’évolution du climat], there are many who are probably depressed. I therefore hope to demonstrate with this essay that political action is possible and that it can provide answers to climate issues. “

The former Minister of Transport and Municipal Affairs, Regions and Land Occupancy, also a former professor at Cégep de Jonquière, describes in his essay and in a very pragmatic and educational way the state of the environmental situation in which is Quebec.

What are the expected effects? How can we take advantage of the post-COVID-19 period to initiate an ecological shift? How can Quebec emerge stronger and perhaps even closer to being a sovereign country? The questions are relevant. The answers are somewhat agreed: investing in green infrastructure, relying heavily on electrification and hydropower, involving all social classes in this transition.

If I were prime minister …

Mr. Gaudreault is not an essayist like the others. He wanted to become leader of the Parti Québécois. He certainly dreamed very seriously about what he would do if he were one day elected to the post of Premier of Quebec. A dream that also turns out to be rather … pragmatic.

“The first thing I would do is draw a line on the third link in Quebec,” he said bluntly. “I would rather use this money to improve public transit and develop low-emission commercial transportation. He would also ensure that all government decisions go through the environmental assessment of a climate committee reporting directly to the Prime Minister’s office. “The example must come from the highest decision-making level, above Transport, Health, Economic Development… Because the climate touches everything. “

A construction worker died on a construction site from heatstroke earlier this summer, and we had never seen this in Quebec before, he recalls. Is it an economic issue? Health ? Safety at work? That’s all that, says Sylvain Gaudreault.

At the big table

Canada is so made that the provinces have the last word on most energy and environmental issues that affect their territory. The member for the Parti Québécois will obviously argue that an independent Quebec would also be a greener Quebec, but who knows if an independent Quebec would not thereby make a more … black-brown Canada?

Counterbalancing in the Canadian Confederation of petroleum provinces like Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador when it comes time to talk about ceilings on emissions and the extraction of hydrocarbons is perhaps a thankless role, but necessary for the Quebec if we want the north of North America not to found a whole. No ?

Sylvain Gaudreault, who wrote his chapter on the reasons why he opposed the LNG Quebec natural gas liquefaction project before the Legault government permanently blocked it, thinks that we must see bigger than the borders of Canada. Because the climate does not know borders.

“Quebec must influence the rest of Canada, but also the rest of the world. Canada is an oil-producing country and it is slowing down Quebec in expressing its own climate ambitions, ”says one who would have liked to see a spokesperson for Quebec sit down alongside representatives of other nations at the table of the 26e United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held next November in Glasgow, Scotland.

Unfortunately, this will not happen. This is certainly the least pragmatic part of this essay, alongside the speech Mr. Gaudreault would have given if he had been elected leader of the Parti Québécois in place of Paul St-Pierre Plamondon. This one did not materialize either.

The author and politician remains optimistic, however. ” We’ll get there. It won’t be easy, but COVID has shown us that the state can act when it counts. “

The state only needs to believe in it.

Pragmatic – When the climate dictates political action

Sylvain Gaudreault, preface by Jérôme Dupras, postface by Pauline Marois. Summarizing Editions, Montreal, 2021, 152 pages

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