Mr. Arcand, who do you represent?

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Mr. Jacques Tétreault, from St-Dominique, Quebec, wonders in whose name Minister Pierre Arcand proposes and promotes Bill 106.

Mr. Arcand, who do you represent?

On October 31, Minister Arcand gave a speech to the 8th annual meeting of the Quebec Association of Oil and Gas Producersi. He explained his bill on the implementation of Quebec’s new energy policy, which contains a chapter providing for the adoption of a law on fossil fuels. The same day, the Quebec Common Front for Energy Transition made public a SOM poll which revealed that 65% of Québécois do not want the development of hydrocarbons on their territoryii.

Our electoral system permits candidates who receive 41.5% of the votes to make decisions for the whole population. If we take account of the fact that the level of participation was 71.4%, this means that the elected Liberals represent 29.6% of the population, that is, about one person out of three. When a poll confirms that twice as many people do not want the direction the government is taking, it behooves that government to at least rethink its decisions. But no, this political party is not interested in the opinions of civil society.

This bill was tabled before the summer, and all opposition political parties, unanimously, demanded the division of the text so that the energy transition part could be studied separately from the part about the law on hydrocarbons. The unions CSN and FTQ, citizens groups, environmental groups, scientists, legal experts, the organizations of the St Lawrence Watershed, the Quebec Federation of Municipalities, The Quebec Union of Municipalities, the UPA and the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador have expressed the desire that the bill not be studied in the form presented. Never mind, on it goes as though the 68.5% of the population doesn’t exist. On we go!

The poll made public October the 31st also mentions that 67% of the population does not agree with the hydraulic fracturing techniques that the bill will permit. The similar 67% of the population does not accept that the government invest public money in those companies with which our Ministry of Energy is involved. What is more, 88% of those polled are against the idea that our government sell licenses to the oil and gas companies that give them the right of access to Quebec lands to search for oil and gas, and that will allow them to demand expropriation if the owners refuse to sell their land for the exploitation of its resources. Even the Quebec Chamber of Notaries has spoken out on the subject indicating that the new framework , as proposed, does not avoid uncertaintiesiii.

So Mr. Arcand, the question is put to you: Who do you represent when tabling this bill condemned by the whole society? Because, once the law is adopted, we will be required to obey it , and the oil and gas companies will be firmly ensconced here!

We will no longer be masters of our land and its riches.

Jacques Tétreault

Coordonnateur général adjoint, RVHQ