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Denationalization of electricity – Organizations denounce a historic setback and demand a real public debate

dénationalisation de l'électricité_rs_ai

COMMUNICATED
For broadcast on Tuesday January 23, 2024 at 7 a.m.
SOURCE: Greenpeace

Montreal, January 23, 2024 – Civil society organizations react to the intention of the Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, to table a bill which would legalize the direct sale of electricity between private companies, which is currently prohibited, and thus put an end to the monopoly from Hydro-Québec. The organizations affirm that the proposal to denationalize electricity is a historic step backwards which takes us back 60 years, while the Legault government did not receive the mandate to weaken this essential public service which is of strategic importance for the economy and energy security of Quebec. The importance of energy issues requires that a real public debate takes place so that decisions are made in the collective interest.

60 years of history and the decarbonization of Quebec are at stake

Who has the legitimacy to decide on the use of the territory and limited resources? According to the government's approach, industrial projects will monopolize in an unplanned and uncoordinated manner the equipment, the workforce, the most economically advantageous territories conducive to the construction of new electrical infrastructures, as well as the economic spinoffs which are associated with it, all without consulting the population. In addition, this lack of planning would have repercussions on the effort required and on the electricity bill of the entire population. “The population has never given the CAQ the mandate to overturn the collective decision taken 60 years ago to nationalize electricity. Before any legislative modification, there needs to be an overall plan and a real social debate to define the directions of this plan. It is the decarbonization of Quebec, from a just transition perspective, which is in danger,” argue the organizations.

This entire situation – just like the dubious practices used to shield other files like that of Northvolt from public debate and environmental obligations – dramatically illustrates the need to quickly hold a legitimate exercise of social dialogue on the energy future of the Quebec. This request, expressed publicly and directly to the government for more than a year now by around a hundred Quebec civil society organizations, remains a dead letter to this day. Faced with this silence, the groups renewed their request, on November 30, by presenting to the National Assembly the Manifesto for a fair and viable energy future, supported by the Parti Québécois and Québec solidaire. Several organizations have also asked for a moratorium on the granting of electricity for industrial development, the time to adopt an energy policy and an integrated resources plan based on broad consultation and democratic debate. This policy and plan should be based on a systemic approach including in particular environmental and social impacts.

“An online consultation, in the middle of summer, on a subject restricted to the development and supervision of renewable energies, does not exempt us from a real democratic debate on the much broader question of the energy future of Quebec,” insist the groups. As the nationalization of Hydro-Québec was the subject of a referendum election in 1962, the signatories call on all civil society groups to mobilize to demand that this social choice is not arbitrarily overturned by the government. As synthesized Boucar Diouf, “we have never voted for what Pierre Fitzgibbon is trying to do”.


 

Lists of signatory organizations:

  • Greenpeace Canada
  • Grouping of environmental energy organizations
  • Fondation Rivières
  • Nature Quebec
  • ACEF of North Montreal
  • Eco-citizen movement
  • A planet
  • Emergency Water
  • Environmental mobilization Ahuntsic-Cartierville
  • Popular Education and Community Action Movement of Quebec (MÉPACQ)
  • Women for Climate Collective (CFC)
  • Solidarity Environment Sutton
  • David Suzuki Foundation
  • Central Council of Metropolitan Montreal-CSN
  • Crossroads for participation, resourcing and training (CPRF)
  • Friends of the Earth of Quebec
  • Quebec Association for the Fight against Atmospheric Pollution (AQLPA)
  • Scientific collective on energy issues in Quebec
  • Rivière-du-Nord Landfill Alert Coalition (CAER)
  • Quebec Association of Physicians for the Environment (AQME)
  • Attac Quebec
  • Consumers Union
  • Mothers at the front
  • Quebec hydrocarbon vigilance group
  • The Ecotheque
  • Justice and Faith Center

– 30-

For more information or to obtain interviews with the signatories of the press release, please contact:

Melanie Busby
melanie.busby@pourlatransitionenergetique.org
(514) 233-8941

Anne-Céline Guyon, Nature Quebec
anne-celine.guyon@naturequebec.org
(581) 989-0815

Patrick Bonin, Greenpeace Canada
patrick.bonin@greenpeace.org
(514) 594-1221

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