TRANSPORTATION AND SUSTAINABLE MOBILITY
The Green Party of Quebec supports the rapid shift of our society towards urban and interurban public transportation. Our goal is to reduce emissions in the transportation sector by 50% by 2030 and to lower traffic congestion by 90% in the urban regions of Quebec over the same period. In order to achieve this, we propose a range of solutions, financial incentives and tools to change our habits, develop the network of urban and interurban transportation to make it affordable and accessible for everyone.
RAPID, EFFICIENT AND FREE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
The Green Party of Quebec proposes making public transportation faster, more comfortable, more efficient and more affordable than private automobiles. To reach this goal, we propose a massive expansion of the network combined with free service. Free service will be an important incentive in raising the number of users. Increased use of public transportation will allow public transportation providers to raise the frequency of service and thereby raise its rapidity and efficiency.
This transition to public transportation will benefit all Quebeckers, who will be able to breathe clean air, waste less time in traffic jams, save money related to purchasing and maintaining a vehicle, while at the same time doing their part in the fight against climate change.
This societal shift will be financed in large part by a carbon tax applied to gasoline consumption, as well as through measures to discourage gas guzzling vehicles.
REVOLUTIONIZING ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION IN QUEBEC
The Green Party of Quebec proposes an investment of $250 million per year in the development of infrastructures for cyclists and pedestrians throughout Quebec in order to encourage active transportation, to raise the safety level of users and to improve the health of the population. This means building new bicycle paths, adapting urban landscapes and offering subsidies for the purchase of sports equipment.
THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NETWORK OF HIGH SPEED TRAINS
With regards to intercity transportation between Quebec's cities, the Green Party of Quebec supports the project of high speed trains proposed by VIA Rail, along with a few additional features. We propose to connect Gatineau, Laval, Montreal, Trois-Rivières, Quebec City, Saguenay, Matane, Gaspé, Sherbrooke and Drummondville to this network. The project will be public, use entirely renewable electricity and will offer affordable service, making it an attractive alternative to using a private automobile.
This major project will allow Quebeckers and tourists to move quickly around the province without emitting GHGs and will contribute to regional economic development while offering a safe means of transportation at a low price.
The Green Party seeks to encourage car-sharing services and reduce the number of vehicles on the road by offering alternatives to owning private vehicles. The current regulations are obsolete and do little to encourage the development of alternatives to the automobile. The PVQ relies on the report prepared by Équiterre to formulate the points proposed in its platform. We propose to :
- Modernize existing policies and regulations in collaboration with industry. Some regulatory barriers hinder the development of car-sharing services, including the maximum amount allowed for ride-sharing services.
- Coordinate public transportation services. The different transportation options fall under different ministries and levels of government. Combining efforts in transportation would provide a harmonized and sustainable vision with specific goals. Partnerships between the various transport services have also led to better service to users, by reducing subscription fees, for example (including STM and Communauto).
- Create incentives to help the industry. Financial measures could include, for example, the reduction of subscription fees, tax credits for subscriptions to such services, the reduction of parking fees for car-sharing, or even more incentives to build fleets of electric vehicles.
- Ensure that the services on offer meet the needs of users. At present, for example, it is very difficult to use the car-sharing system to go from one municipality to another.
ELECTRIFICATION OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Commuter trains, new rail infrastructure, buses and trams all have electrification options without batteries. In big cities, we support electrical bus feeds by overhead wires. Connecting power directly to public transportation is an effective way to reduce our GHGs while avoiding the harmful effects of batteries on the environment.
POLICY ON ELECTRIC VEHICLES
Although most electric vehicles powered by hydropower emit less GHG than petroleum-powered vehicles, their ecological impact is important and should not be underestimated. The environmental impact of electric vehicles is particularly heavy in the mining sector and has adverse effects on surface water and land use planning.
In Quebec, several private companies are proposing to dig new rare earth mines to produce batteries for electric vehicles. This toxic process consumes an astronomical amount of drinking water. In addition, the process of chemical extraction involves the storage of waste, the creation of settling ponds and even radioactive pollution.
Experts say that simply converting to electric vehicles is not a sustainable solution. To respect the limits of our ecosystems and our atmosphere, we must massively reduce our use of private automobiles, regardless of the type of energy used.
According to the Green Party of Quebec, the Quebec government currently gives too much importance to electric vehicles in the shift to clean energy. It is misleading to say that the electrification of private vehicles will solve the ecological problems of our mode of transportation. Instead, we must aggressively fight against the individual use of the car and favor public transportation in every way we can.
In our opinion, the current subsidy of up to $ 8,000 for each electric vehicle purchased in Quebec in an effort to offset their higher price, does not represent proper use of public funds earmarked for energy transition. Car manufacturers may even raise prices knowing that the government will foot the bill.
For these reasons, the Green Party of Quebec proposes to abolish subsidies for the purchase of electric vehicles and to invest these sums in the community, that is, in urban and interurban transit infrastructures. The best way to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles is to oblige car manufacturers to sell a predetermined percentage of them each year. A coalition of environmental groups claims that 50% of cars will be electric by the year 2025. We support building charging stations to allow citizens to use electric vehicles on an adequate recharging network. Any new construction should also make it easy to install one or more charging stations for electric vehicles. The building code should also take this into account.
SPECIFIC TRANSIT PROJECTS IN GREATER MONTREAL AND THE QUÉBEC REGION
The Green Party of Quebec believes that ambitious transit development projects would make it possible to decongest major centres while saving money on road maintenance over the long term. The GPQ believes that a coordinated approach to transportation would achieve specific objectives and optimize resource investment. While several transit projects are under consideration, we need to use evidence-based studies, and determine the needs of major centers in order to decide which projects should be prioritized.
The pink line should be developed. The construction of the pink line would not only help overcome the overload problems of the green and orange lines, but also connect areas of the city where getting around is overly laborious. This line would facilitate access to employment and contribute to the economic development of the regions involved.
DISCOURAGING THE USE OF LARGE VEHICLES
In Quebec, consumers are buying more and more large energy-consuming vehicles. In 2017, two-thirds of new vehicles sold in Quebec were light-duty trucks (SUVs or vans) and our gas consumption was never higher than in 2017, when we consumed nearly 10 billion liters of gasoline. This trend must change quickly. Quebeckers are paying more and more for less efficient vehicles. In fact, the purchase of new vehicles costs Quebecers $16.5 billion each year. Expenditures for private transport are the second largest single expense for our citizens, only outpaced by housing.
To combat this new trend, the Green Party of Quebec supports a registration rate based on a vehicle's weight and displacement. Under a Green government, it will be significantly more expensive to buy and register large fuel-consuming vehicles. Compact, electric and hybrid vehicles will be favored in the calculation of registration fees.
URBAN ZONES WITHOUT CARS IN THE 30 LARGEST CITIES IN QUÉBEC
Require the 30 largest cities in Quebec to develop car-free zones in the heart of their downtown core. They will be able to rely on generous provincial grants for pedestrian and active transportation development.
ABOLISHING LEGISLATIVE BARRIERS TO CAR-SHARING
Carpooling is an essential part of reducing our oil consumption. Despite this fact, Quebec imposes strict guidelines that prevent anyone from benefiting from carpooling, meaning that a person can accept passengers in his vehicle provided that he charges only the price of the fuel and the costs associated with the vehicle. In other words, the driver is not entitled to be compensated monetarily for accepting passengers. This slows down the development of carpooling applications since drivers cannot operate commercially. The Quebec Green Party supports a regulatory framework that encourages carpooling, which recognizes that it is perfectly reasonable to compensate drivers for their service and that single passenger cars are a source of astronomical emissions and a nuisance in the fight against climate change.
FORESTS AND GREEN SPACES
PROTECTION OF GREEN SPACES IN URBAN ENVIRONMENTS
Across Quebec, there are fewer and fewer green spaces in and around urban centers. The lack of land development plans that value these spaces has had profound consequences. The Green Party of Quebec is committed to promoting the densification of urban environments while protecting green spaces. We believe that underused lands could be developed to meet development needs. It is also an effective way to fight against heat islands.
We must promote the initiatives of the various organizations that campaign for green cities such as the Greening Society of Metropolitan Montreal (Soverdi), the Regroupement des éco-quartiers and the Urban Forest Alliance, which are running various programs such as A tree for my district.
We also have to encourage the involvement of all stakeholders in creating and maintaining green urban spaces. Whether they are citizens, private companies or NPOs, everyone must act to help green cities.
Current logging practices in Quebec are not sustainable. Mature forests, woodland caribou and biodiversity are all at risk because of government policies that favor logging at any cost to the detriment of the natural environment. For these reasons, the Green Party of Quebec supports greater protection of Quebec's forests. This implies the designation of vast conservation areas throughout Quebec and tapping into the knowledge of First Nations, who should be given the power to block any project on their ancestral lands that is not in their interest.
A POLICY TO COMBAT URBAN SPRAWL
The Quebec Green Party supports the implementation of a national land-use and urban planning policy in order to ensure coordination of the actions of the State and municipalities that favor the achievement of the major national objectives in terms of environment, health, energy efficiency and more.
NATIONALIZING SUSTAINABLE FOREST EXPLOITATION
The Green Party of Quebec supports the nationalization of the logging industry. The exploitation, transportation and processing of resources will be managed by a new Crown corporation named Forests Quebec.
This Crown corporation will be mandated to execute the sustainable extraction of the resource with a management plan that leaves more room for conservation, protection of sensitive environments and greater respect for First Nations rights and communities.
Workers in the industry will be able to count on job stability, better working conditions and can be represented en bloc by one or more unions.
CREATION AND EXPANSION OF THE PROVINCIAL PARKS NETWORK
The Quebec Green Party supports the expansion and addition of national parks in several regions of Quebec. This would include the inauguration of the first provincial park on the island of Montreal on the territory of the L'Anse à l'Orme forest. The PVQ is campaigning to protect more territories in Quebec, particularly in the marine environment. Many marine species in Quebec are threatened and action tis urgently needed to keep them viable.
CLIMATE CHANGE, FOSSIL ENERGY AND ATMOSPHERIC POLLUTION
REACHING CARBON NEUTRALITY BY 2050
The Paris agreement is clear; the countries of the world will have to reach carbon neutrality by the year 2050 in order to limit global warming to 1.5 ℃. To achieve this objective at the local level, we propose a rapid transition of Québec infrastructures. The sectors of transport, waste management, agriculture and real estate will be particularly affected. We recognize that the energy transition must be fair and can not be done to the detriment of low-income people and rural communities.
CARBON PRICE INCREASE & INSTALLATION OF A FOSSIL FUEL SUPPLY SYSTEM
In 2017, Québec consumed nearly 10 billion litres of gasoline, surpassing all previous years. Two-thirds of the vehicles sold were SUVs or light trucks. The status quo is not sustainable. It is time to take concrete action to combat climate change and emissions from the transportation sector.
The opinion of the experts is clear: to reduce greenhouse gases and fight climate change, we must take concrete action by reducing the consumption of gasoline and fossil fuels. The Green Party of Quebec therefore proposes to increase the price of carbon to $200 per tonne in 2019, with an increase of $ 25 per year thereafter. However, the increase in the carbon price must take into account the economic realities of individuals, families and regions. This is why we support ways of thinking that will allow for more equitable management of the price of carbon.
We propose to offer a carbon price exemption to every resident of Quebec. The number of litres of gasoline exempted will be based on residents' proximity to public transit and their ability to reduce emissions. Children will also be eligible for an exemption. This will allow families living in the regions, for example, to receive a large number of litres of exemption while a person who lives in a large city near public transit will receive a much more limited exemption. In addition, this change will be combined with a broad extension of the public transit system, which will now be free, frequent, rapid and comfortable.
Gas tax-exempt litres of gas will be allotted on a monthly basis and each resident will have a carbon card. By presenting the carbon card to gasoline retailers, the price of carbon will be deducted from the bill directly at the pump. Each litre of gasoline purchased that exceeds the exemption will be subject to the carbon price of approximately $0.46 per liter. The money from the carbon price will be injected into the Québec Green Fund and will be used to finance public transit. We plan to exempt 40% of gas purchases in the first year and gradually reduce exemptions thereafter. This will allow the Quebec government to generate $2.7 billion in revenue for public transit in the first year alone.
ELIMINATING FOSSIL FUELS FOR HEATING BUILDINGS
In Quebec, a large number of buildings are heated with heating oil and natural gas. These fossil fuels are easily replaceable with electric heating and geothermal energy. Since Quebec has a surplus of electricity, and new wind projects seek to further increase our production capacity, replacing fuels for heating buildings should be a priority. The Green Party of Quebec supports major subsidies that will allow us to completely eliminate fossil fuel consumption for residential, industrial and commercial heating by 2025.
ESTABLISHING A MORATORIUM ON FURTHER OIL INFRASTRUCTURE
The proliferation of oil infrastructure is incompatible with the fight against climate change. That is why the Green Party of Quebec opposes any oil pipeline, oil port or any other similar developments such as drilling, extraction or exploitation. The construction of new infrastructure of this type will tie the Quebec economy to a declining industry for decades to come.
ABOLISHING ALL PUBLIC SUBSIDIES AND INVESTMENTS IN THE OIL INDUSTRY
Quebec spends about $300 million a year on subsidies to the oil industry. According to the Green Party of Quebec and the entire environmental movement, these subsidies must be abolished immediately. These subsidies prevent Quebec from moving towards a real energy shift and would be better invested in energy transition and support for green initiatives.
IMPROVING AIR QUALITY IN URBAN ENVIRONMENTS
Major cities in Quebec are currently flooded with polluted air. A recent study estimates that 7,700 people die prematurely each year in Canada and that smog costs the economy more than $36 billion. At the local level, the Lung Association estimates that 1,540 of these deaths occur in the greater Montreal area each year.
To remedy the situation, the Green Party of Quebec proposes the following measures:
- A complete ban on the burning of firewood in urban areas
- The conversion of heating systems from oil and natural gas to electricity
- Measures that limit the number of vehicles that have access to the city
- No-car zones in the 30 largest cities in Quebec
- The establishment of more vegetation, including vines, trees, green roofs, etc.
CLIMATE TESTING FOR ANY NEW GOVERNMENT PROJECT
Each industrial project comes with GHG emissions. At present, the government does not take into account the emissions associated with major projects in Quebec. Information about these emissions is essential for any decision-making regarding a project's merits. A Green Party government will therefore introduce a Climate Test for any new government project in Quebec.
MEASURING AND REDUCING EMISSIONS BY GOVERNMENT AND PARA-GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES
The Green Party of Quebec proposes to measure the carbon footprint of the government and its agencies (departments, agencies, Crown corporations, governmental and para-governmental agencies), and implement a carbon neutral target for the year 2035
RESIDUAL MATERIAL MANAGEMENT - A STRATEGY BASED ON BIOMETHANIZATION
COMPULSORY COLLECTION OF ORGANIC MATERIALS (COMPOSTING) - PROHIBITING ORGANIC WASTE IN LANDFILLS
Organic waste represents a huge energy potential in Quebec. A Green government will make the collection of organic materials mandatory for all residents. This waste will be exploited through bio-methanization infrastructures built locally and which remain public property. Part of it will also be used for local / urban garden / agriculture projects and for the national greenhouse project.
The biogas generated by organic waste is interchangeable with natural gas and can be used to replace fossil fuels in heavy road transportation and even in appropriately equipped cars.
The introduction of bio-methanization technologies will make it possible to capture methane emissions (a greenhouse gas four times more powerful than CO2) while reducing our consumption of fossil fuels. Quebec has everything to gain by investing in the recovery of organic materials.
INVESTING MASSIVELY IN BIOGASIFICATION OF WASTEWATER
In Quebec, almost all wastewater treatment centres burn fossil fuels to incinerate wastewater residue. This way of doing things is simply obsolete. New, privately developed technologies are already in place in many cities allowing treatment centres to generate renewable energy and fertilizer that can be used for agriculture. The Green Party of Quebec supports a massive wastewater recycling program across Quebec.
CAPTURING AND REUSING EMISSIONS FROM EXISTING LANDFILLS
Existing landfills contain large amounts of organic material that emits methane, a greenhouse gas four times more powerful than CO2. In Lachute, emissions are captured and upgraded. The Quebec Green Party supports the spread of this technology to all existing landfills in Quebec where the gas capturing potential is high.
INVESTING MASSIVELY IN LOCAL RECYCLING AND THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY
Quebec is going through a major crisis in the field of recycling, provoked by China's refusal to accept our paper and cardboard. The main contributing factor to this crisis is the lack of local capacity to deal with waste. This lack of infrastructure means that we are in no way able to exploit our own recycling. To remedy the situation, the Green Party of Quebec supports major public investments in recycling infrastructure to promote the circular economy, provide local jobs and contribute to a responsible environmental policy. Our goal will be to completely eliminate the export and burying of recyclable materials for the benefit of local industry.
REDUCING CONSUMPTION OF GOODS WITH ECOTAX
Although Quebec already imposes an eco-tax on certain products such as electronics, the amounts are not sufficient to encourage the purchase of more sustainable products or adequately fund their complete recycling after use. For these reasons, the Green Party of Quebec proposes to spread the number of products subject to environmental taxes and to increase the tax amount.
ELIMINATING PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE
One of the big problems with our current consumption system is the quality and durability of the products we use. Several companies, especially those producing electronic products, design their goods by purposely limiting their life expectancy or by preventing any repair. This practice forces consumers to replace their goods more frequently, increases the amount of waste produced and contributes to pollution in a variety of ways. To fight against this practice, the Green Party of Quebec proposes to:
- Eliminate small throw-away household appliances by gradually extending the warranty on almost all of these products to ten years by focusing on both their design and the availability of spare parts. This essentially means designing modular objects composed of easily removable and exchangeable subassemblies.
- Adopt minimal resistance criteria covering, among other things, robustness, repairability and scalability for each product category as soon as they are designed.
- Value repair rather than exchange.
- Encourage the voluntary labeling of products (in terms of shelf life) as a competitive advantage for businesses.
- Create financial incentives by reducing the GST and QST on clothing, electrical and electronic equipment repairs by 50% to put an end to a system in which repairing a product costs more than the purchase a new model at a low price.
- Change existing regulations to include prohibition of planned obsolescence.
In the specific case of mobile devices, we propose to :
- Allow the reversibility of operating system updates.
- Extend the warranty period from 2 to 4 years for mobile phones, and improve consumer information about its existence and content.
- Impose penalties when phone manufacturers make batteries irremovable in order o eventually eliminate this practice.
EXPANDING BOTTLE AND CAN DEPOSITS
The system of deposit and return is controversial; many think it should simply be abolished. At the Green Party of Quebec we believe that not only must this system be maintained, but it must be expanded. It is important to note that bottle and can deposits represent a significant source of income for many low-income and homeless people: to eliminate this income source would be a serious mistake. We want to incorporate more products into the deposit system. A Green government will first increase the current amount to 20 cents, in an effort to make recycling more efficient and incomes more attractive. We also want to introduce a deposit on wine and spirits bottles as quickly as possible. For example, a deposit of 25 cents on the bottles sold by the SAQ could be refunded via the loyalty card when returning the bottles to the deposit points. We also want to modernize existing sorting centres to make the process more efficient, and fund research to find new opportunities and ways to maximize glass recycling.
REGULATION, FINES AND APPLICATION OF LAWS
ESTABLISHING AN ENVIRONMENTAL POLICE
The Green Party of Quebec proposes to set up a new police unit dedicated to environmental investigations. This police unit will include environmental experts, specialized detectives and conventional police who collaborate on investigations. This new police force will be governed by a new Environmental Policing Act that would provide them with the necessary legal levers to obtain the tools, funding and powers that will be needed for their work.
INCREASING FINES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL OFFENSES
Fines for offenses related to the Environment Quality Act are currently very low. People who do not respect the law are rarely held accountable for their actions, and those who are, are not punished severely. That is why the Green Party of Quebec proposes to considerably increase the fines for environmental offenses in the territory of Quebec.
CHANGING THE ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT
The GPQ seeks to enhance the Access to Information Act in order to increase transparency concerning projects and situations that impact the environment. This involves the disclosure of information on the discharge of contaminants, which is currently excluded on the grounds that it may involve "trade secrets". The public should have access to all information on contaminants released into the environment by polluting industries.
INCLUDING THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE IN ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS
At present, the state of Quebec's environmental law requires that citizens who are affected by toxic emissions or other contaminants prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that they have been subjected to negative effects of the pollution in question before the courts intervene to protect them. To remedy the situation, the Green Party of Quebec seeks to include the precautionary principle in the law on the quality of the environment. This amendment will allow the courts to intervene as soon as health or the environment is threatened by a contaminant. Companies will have the duty to demonstrate that their practices are safe, beyond any reasonable doubt.
CONTAMINATED SOIL MANAGEMENT
SOIL TRACEABILITY PROGRAM
To ensure that soil decontamination companies follow the decontamination process rather than dump toxic soils into the wild, the Quebec Green Party supports the Quebec government's pilot program which uses GPS data to trace the soil from the contaminated site right to the decontamination company. This is a step in the right direction, and the program should be enhanced and implemented throughout the Quebec decontamination industry to ensure its integrity. The Ministry of the Environment should also take inventory of soils and contaminated sites throughout Quebec and share the information with the public.
MANAGEMENT OF CONTAMINATED SITES
Across Quebec, thousands of contaminated sites lie abandoned. These sites emit toxins into groundwater and into the air, and spread in the environment to the detriment of ecosystems. Some pollutants remain in the environment for hundreds or even thousands of years. Currently, site owners are reluctant to invest the money needed for decontamination, and the provincial government rarely funds decontamination efforts regardless of the circumstances or magnitude of the threat to the environment. These circumstances mean that toxic legacies are left in place for future generations to clean up, which represents a source of intergenerational inequity that must be addressed as quickly as possible. Some studies estimate the share of ecological debt related to contaminated soils in Quebec at above $3 billion. Funding for the management of contaminated soils should be shared by the owners of the sites, the companies involved (if they still exist) and the state as a last resort. However, disputes over cost sharing should not slow down decontamination efforts, which may proceed even if an agreement is not reached between the parties concerned before the work begins.
PLASTIC CONTROL POLICY AND SINGLE-USE OBJECTS
BANNING SINGLE USE CUPS - THE UNIVERSAL MUG
Every year we consume billions of cups of single-use coffee cups. Reusable cups are widespread, but not many consumers use them and the disadvantages and systemic issues limit their use by the the majority.
To counter this trend and to address the systemic disadvantages, the Green Party of Quebec proposes to ban single-use cups and replace them with a reusable universal cup. The universal cups will be exchangeable on a deposit system regardless of where consumers get their coffee. Cafes and restaurants will be responsible for cleaning the cups and distributing them to customers. Disposable cups will be banned. This is the best way to bring about a quick and effective change of habits to reduce our consumption of paper and plastic while reducing the recovery costs of Quebec municipalities.
BANNING STRAWS, BAGS AND SINGLE USE UTENSILS
The Green Party of Quebec supports the ban on straws, plastic bags, as well as disposable utensils. In order to allow consumers and businesses to adapt, a significant tax will be applied to the plastic items in question in the first two years following the adoption of the law. Following the transition period, straws, utensils and single-use bags will be prohibited.
BANNING THE USE OF SINGLE USE CONTAINERS FOR RESTAURANT DISHES CONSUMED ON SITE
A government of the Green Party of Quebec will ban the practice of offering disposable plates for meals that are consumed on site. This would eliminate thousands of tonnes of plastic and waste from our landfills, streams and oceans.
THE FIGHT AGAINST OVERPACKING
To fight against plastic consumption effectively, the problem of overpacking, which represents one of the biggest sources of plastic pollution, must also be tackled. It is important to act against this type of plastic, which is not only useless, but is frequently found in the oceans and in our drinking water, posing a direct threat to the health of Quebeckers. To fight effectively against this type of plastic consumption, the PVQ proposes to:
- Establish regulations on packaging, to limit it to the maximum, while respecting the principles of health and hygiene.
- Encourage the development of and the transition to "bulk stores".
- Replace plastic with paper as much as possible.
- Completely abolish plastic bags throughout the province.
A MORATORIUM ON NEW ELECTRIC DAMS
Quebec has developed its hydroelectric potential on a large scale. The majority of the exploitable waterways are already in operation, the Crown corporation produces a surplus of energy, and the next potential dam sites will be less fiscally and environmentally friendly than those already in place. For these reasons, the Green Party of Quebec supports a moratorium on new electric dams.
ALLOWING THE PURCHASE OF SMALL SCALE RENEWABLE ENERGY
At present, the legal framework does not allow Hydro Quebec to purchase electricity generated by passive houses or small-scale production by residential or commercial buildings. The Green Party of Quebec would mandate Hydro-Québec to buy renewable energy, produced on a small scale, at low prices for producers, following the example of Ontario, which pays $0.42 per kWh to small producers.
MODIFYING ELECTRICITY RATES TO MAKE THEM MORE ECOLOGICAL AND EQUITABLE
The Green Party of Quebec proposes to offer a basic amount of free electricity to every citizen and to bill only for consumption beyond this amount. This policy will have the effect of discouraging over-consumption while easing the tax burden on residential consumers. Companies that are large consumers will have to pay much higher fees than they currently enjoy.
BUILDINGS, CONSTRUCTION AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY STANDARDS FOR NEW CONSTRUCTIONS
The PVQ wants to require that all new construction follow the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards and, if possible, the principles of passive buildings. In particular, buildings would be oriented to maximize energy efficiency, take advantage of solar energy, be well insulated and use geothermal energy wherever possible.
UPGRADING EXISTING BUILDINGS
The Green Party of Quebec supports a broad energy efficiency program that will offer significant subsidies to help homeowners to better insulate buildings, replace fossil fuel-based heating with electricity and set up renewable energy projects.
The Quebec Green Party supports subsidies and interest-free loan programs to spread solar, geothermal and home wind energy technologies as widely as possible in an effort to reduce our ecological footprint and promote sustainable development.
MANAGEMENT AND PROTECTION OF WATER
DRINKING WATER PROTECTION
We must oppose any economic development project that involves risks to drinking water throughout Quebec. This includes industrial projects, oil drilling as well as residential developments. Each project must be risk-assessed regarding drinking water and groundwater.
ESTABLISHING A PLAN FOR RAINWATER MANAGEMENT
Rainwater reuse is a good way to reduce our ecological footprint and energy consumption related to water purification. Sound rainwater management plays a vital role in the fight against floods. Groundwater is a natural reservoir of rainwater, but with traditional urban development, rainwater is directed to sewers rather than groundwater. The Quebec Green Party supports the implementation of a national stormwater management policy that will take into account the realities of climate change.
LAKES AND RIVERS
The Quebec Green Party is committed to protecting our lakes and rivers, which are important for biodiversity, the health of Quebeckers, tourism, and so on. The PVQ proposes to:
- Prohibit pesticides and herbicides that are often a threat to lakes, especially with the proliferation of blue-green algae.
- Strengthen agricultural inspections.
- Fight against plastic waste.
- More adequately finance the reforestation of lakes and rivers.
- Apply the recommendations of organizations and associations acting for the protection of various water bodies (especially watersheds).
RIVER BANK MANAGEMENT AND STRATEGIC RETREAT
The reality of climate change is that the water level of the St. Lawrence and the ocean will continue to rise over the next several years. This phenomenon has great implications for the management of riverbanks and maritime communities. The construction of retaining walls on river banks leaves little room for biodiversity. The protection of biodiversity and habitats necessitates the removal of structures located near the banks. The Green Party of Quebec is committed, if elected, to manage the banks with diligence, respecting biodiversity and taking into account the reality of climate change.
A Green government will also commit to launching a program of strategic retreats in the Gaspésie, Haut-Saint-Laurent and Côte-Nord regions. This measure will target the retreat of existing infrastructures, but also ecosystems.
BIODIVERSITY AND PROTECTION OF THREATENED SPECIES
ESTABLISHING PROTECTED MARINE AND LAND AREAS
The PVQ proposes to set aside at least 10% of the Gulf and St. Lawrence Estuary as protected marine areas and at least 17% of Quebec land as protected areas in accordance with international objectives under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.
PROTECTING AT LEAST 50% OF THE TERRITORY NORTH OF THE 49TH PARALLEL
This should include a minimum of 20% strictly protected areas. The territory selected for protection should be protected indefinitely and without the possibility of modification to allow mining or industrial projects. These decisions must be made in collaboration with the Inuit and First Nations.
ADOPTING CONCRETE MEASURES TO PROTECT ENDANGERED SPECIES
Endangered species such as the St. Lawrence Beluga and the Copper Redhorse deserve the establishment of a marine protected area and acoustic refuges in an effort to fight for their survival.
PROMOTING THE DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL INFRASTRUCTURES
The Quebec Green Party pledges to contribute a minimum of 1% of Québec's infrastructure budgets to natural infrastructure such as woodland protection, wetlands, urban greening measures and natural bridges for wildlife.
The protection of bees is vital for our future. They are the main pollinators of the plants that surround us, and play a vital role in many ecosystems. Bees make an essential contribution to our quality of life. The economic contribution of bees is also major; pollination by bees represents more than 153 billion dollars for the world economy. However, for several years, the number of bees has been declining and it is important to act quickly. To do this, the Green Party of Quebec proposes to:
- Impose a complete ban on pesticides.
- Establish a monitoring program of bee numbers.
- Establish lists of threatened species.
- Ramp up the fight against harmful and exotic species.
THE MINING INDUSTRY
The Green Party of Quebec supports much more stringent environmental standards for the mining industry, which is currently under-regulated. This state of under-regulation allows large mining companies to damage the territory without being held responsible for their actions. The effects of mines are also harmful to the quality of life and sometimes the health of local communities that have few legal levers against multinationals.
PUBLIC CONSULTATIONS AND LOCAL AUTONOMY
Any new mining project should be subject to a public consultation held by the BAPE based on an in-depth, independent and credible environmental study. Currently, the Department of the Environment has discretionary powers to exempt a large number of BAPE mining projects and public consultations.
We also support the right of indigenous and local communities to say no to projects that they feel are not in their interests. The Municipality of Grenville-sur-la-Rouge is currently being sued for $96 million by Canada Carbon Mining for the simple reason that they oppose a mining project on their territory. This situation is intolerable as it undermines democracy and citizens' rights. The Green Party of Quebec believes that the Mining Act should be amended to grant veto rights to municipalities and First Nations for any new economic, mining or industrial development project.
AN OBLIGATION TO FINANCE REHABILITATION OF USED SITES
Mining companies in Quebec are rarely held responsible for site remediation costs following the cessation of mining operations. The Green Party of Quebec supports the establishment of rehabilitation funds unique to each mine. The Québec government should ensure that the funds associated with each mine are sufficient, at all times, to rehabilitate the entire site in the event of a cessation of operations.
ABOLISHING PUBLIC SUBSIDIES IN PRIVATE PROJECTS
Through its Investment Québec branch, the Québec government has transferred millions of dollars to non-renewable resource extraction and exploration projects. The Green Party of Quebec is of the opinion that these subsidies are not necessary for mining development and are nothing more than generous gifts of taxpayers' money to private industry.