We Looked To Quebec. Were We Wrong?

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Jim Emberger., the spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance, challenges Premier Couillard to explain why Québec, formerly a model on climate change action and water protection, passed Bill106. This opens the doors to the fracking industry just as other jurisdictions all over the world are taking action to heed the scientific evidence. This is not what we would expect from a progressive nation.


We Looked to Quebec. Were We Wrong?

(Letter to Premier Philippe Couillard)

I am the spokesperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance, a province-wide alliance of Anglophone and Francophone organizations with two mandates: stopping the extraction of unconventional oil and gas, and moving to a clean energy economy to fight climate change.

It is with great distress that we read that the government of Quebec intends to proceed with the the exploitation of shale gas on its territory. Quebec has always been an inspiration to us, because of its early response to the threats to health, water and climate change from the process of hydrofracturing, and its later opposition to the Energy East pipeline that would have allowed the expansion of the climate wrecking tarsands.

We often cited Quebec’s example in our own successful fight to win a moratorium in New Brunswick (and now in Nova Scotia and PEI as well).

Our distress is compounded by the fact that virtually all the scientific research conducted in recent years has demonstrated that the population was right to oppose hydraulic fracturing.

Its threats to groundwater and aquifers have been well established, and the number of studies linking serious public health problems to fracking grows continuously. Even more concerning is the explosion of studies showing that the methane emissions from the fossil fuel industry are responsible for a quarter of the emissions that cause global warming.

What can possibly be the justification for this renewed interest in shale gas at a time when countries around the world, including France, are going in the opposite direction, because of climate change?

It is scientifically accepted that we cannot burn all the fossil fuels we are currently exploiting without killing the planet and ourselves. This means that we cannot develop any new fossil fuel resources. Though it is a bitter pill to swallow, there is no middle ground; if one intends to effectively fight climate change, then one cannot promote fossil fuels.

To say that one can do both is hypocritical and duplicitous. We cannot believe this is the will of your citizens.

Although we are stunned, we hope that there is still a way for your government to stop this madness, and preserve Quebec’s reputation as a province that is responsive to the will of its environmentally progressive citizenry. Thank you for your consideration of our thoughts.

Sincerely, Jim Emberger, Spokesperson