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.