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Letter to the Committee on the Economy and Energy Transition – Questionnaire on the supervision and development of clean energies: no to a sham consultation

Consultation sur l'encadrement et le développement des énergies propres au Québec

June 21, 2023

Mr. François Legault, Prime Minister of Quebec
Mr. Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Energy and Minister responsible for Regional Economic Development
Mr. Eric Girard, Minister of Finance and Minister responsible for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers
Mr. Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment, the Fight Against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks
Mr. Ian Lafrenière, Minister responsible for Relations with First Nations and Inuit

Subject: Online questionnaires on the supervision and development of clean energies: no to a mock consultation

Prime Minister, Honorable Ministers,

We unite our voices to express our strong opposition to the online consultation and especially to the questionnaire in two versions that your government has been offering to the population of Quebec since June 2, in place of the “real social debate” on Quebec's energy future promised by Prime Minister François Legault in his speech opening date of November 30, 2022.

Far from giving rise to a “real social debate”, online consultation is the antithesis in several respects. A single person in front of a questionnaire does not participate in a debate: they respond to a survey. On the contrary, a social debate would provide real and sustained opportunities for exchanges, sharing of knowledge and clashes of perspectives between parliamentarians and their teams, energy and environment specialists from the public service, stakeholders in the energy sector. , the scientific community, unions, civil society in all its diversity, indigenous peoples and the most vulnerable populations, who risk being penalized by the transition if they are not involved in the discussions and decisions.

Furthermore, the consultation has far too limited a scope since it relates strictly to “the supervision and development of clean energies”, as its name indicates, whereas the energy transition raises transversal issues of great importance and many larger. This piecemeal approach worries us greatly because it suggests unbridled development of energy production even before Quebec society has defined its collective vision of the carbon-free Quebec of tomorrow or assessed the environmental, social and economic risks inherent in a policy. favoring increasing energy supply rather than reducing demand. This reflection should precede and inform the revision of the laws on the Régie de l'énergie and on Hydro-Québec, announced for next fall, and not follow it. 

Furthermore, the terms of the consultation limit citizen participation when it should be encouraged. On the one hand, the use of the Web excludes populations who do not have access to this technology or whose literacy is lower. On the other hand, the period from June 2 to August 1 is particularly poorly chosen for a broad consultation since it coincides, for many, with the end of the first semester, the preparation of the summer holidays and the holidays as such. 

Finally, the wording of many questions in the questionnaire makes us question the validity of the answers you will obtain and especially the use you will make of them. In particular, some questions are so general that the answers they generate could lead to any conclusion. Others confront respondents with choices whose important repercussions are not revealed. Still others ask respondents to express opinions on technical elements that it makes no sense to submit to popular favor without providing the information necessary to understand the ins and outs. Finally, many conceal issues that are impossible to detect by people who are not aware of your government's intentions. Overall, the questionnaire covers specific and complex questions for civil society, even those familiar with energy issues, but omits the principles and substantive questions on which the population is able to express its opinion and has the right to do so.

For all these reasons, Mr Prime Minister, Gentlemen Ministers, we consider that the online consultation on "the supervision and development of clean energies" is a public relations operation - a simulacrum of consultation whose objective seems to be to justify guidelines that are already set and which favor industry to the detriment of decarbonization, the preservation of natural environments and the protection of living environments. We do not recommend that our members and sympathizers respond to the questionnaire and ask you to suspend your plan to revise the laws on the Régie de l'énergie and on Hydro-Québec, as well as the reception of new energy-intensive companies, until 'until the social debate that you promised has taken place.

This social debate could take place within the framework of an investigation with public hearings, commonly called a “generic BAPE”, as requested by 101 organizations and several academics in the letter they sent to you on February 3 and to which they never got a response. The debate could also take other forms proposed by the many other voices who have also called for a broad, exhaustive and inclusive dialogue on Quebec's energy future.

Your government currently has a unique opportunity to define with the population a real social project around the energy transition. We sincerely hope that you will grab it.

Signatories: 

  1. Anne-Céline Guyon, climate expert project manager, Nature Québec 
  2. Marc Nantel, spokesperson, Regroupement Vigilance Mines de l’Abitibi et du Témiscamingue (REVIMAT)
  3. Jean-Philippe Waaub, associate professor, Scientific collective on Quebec energy issues, UQAM
  4. Charles Bonhomme, Public Affairs and Communications Manager, David Suzuki Foundation
  5. Marie-Hélène Fortier, Quebec Coordination of the World March of Women
  6. Dominique Daigneault, president, Central Council of Metropolitan Montreal-CSN 
  7. Florence Bourdeau, coordinator, Common Front for the Energy Transition
  8. Jean-Pierre Finet, analyst and spokesperson, Group of Environmental Energy Organizations (ROEÉ)
  9. Émilie Laurin-Dansereau, responsible for the “access to energy” file, ACEF du Nord de Montréal
  10. Ève Duhaime, vice-president, TerraVie
  11. Christiane Bernier, coordinator, Trois-Rivières without pesticides and The issues of Bti insecticide on biodiversity
  12. Yolande Henry, founder, Ecological Transition La Pêche Coalition for a Green New Deal
  13. Quentin Lehmann, activist, Ecothèque
  14. Jacques Benoit, co-author of the DUC Plan, member of GMob (GroupMobilisation)
  15. Réal Lalande, president, Action Climat Outaouais (ACO)
  16. Laurence Guénette, coordinator, League of Rights and Freedoms
  17. André-Yanne Parent, Director General, Climate Reality Canada
  18. Patricia Clermont, Ph.D, coordinator, Quebec Association of Physicians for the Environment (AQME)
  19. Mélanie Hubert, president, Autonomous Education Federation (FAE)
  20. Pascal Bergeron, Spokesperson, Environnement Vert Plus
  21. Ambre Fourrier, member of the scientific committee, Polémos
  22. Stéphane Poirier, co-founder, No to an oil spill in the St. Lawrence 
  23. Marie-Eve Boucher, project manager, L’Assomption-D’Autray net zero emissions community
  24. Jean-François Boisvert, president, Montreal Climate Coalition
  25. Chantal Levert, general coordinator, Quebec network of environmental groups RQGE
  26. Francis Waddell, administrator and project manager, Demain Verdun
  27. Olivier Touchette, president of the board of directors, The forgotten people of the bus
  28. Bernard Hudon, associate researcher, Justice and Faith Center
  29. Joseph Dansereau, chairman of the board of directors, L’Accorderie de Québecsolidarity cooperative.
  30. Carole Mainville, La Planète comes to Parliament-Longueuil
  31. Claude Vaillancourt, president, ATTAC-Québec
  32. Marie-Pier Ouellet, vice-president, SLSJ-CSN Central Council
  33. Carol Saucier, spokesperson, Solidarité Gaspésie 
  34. Guillaume Bazire, member of Prospérité Sans Pétrole
  35. Martin Poirier, co-founder, NO to an oil spill in the St. Lawrence 
  36. Françoise Ramel, vice-president, Interprofessional Health Federation of Quebec-FIQ
  37. Éric Ferland, general director, Foire ECOSPHERE
  38. Émilie Charbonneau, 2nd vice-president, Alliance of professional and technical personnel in health and social services (APTS)
  39. Laura Ullmann, Greenpeace Canada
  40. Valérie Lépine, Popular Education and Community Action Movement of Quebec
  41. Normand Beaudet, spokesperson, Action Environnement Basses-Laurentides 
  42. Catherine Houbart, general director, GRAME
  43. Geneviève Tremblay-Racette, coordinator, Round table of voluntary organizations in popular education in Outaouais (TROVEPO)
  44. Lucie Bergeron, member, Transition Capitale-Nationale
  45. André Bélanger, general manager, Fondation Rivières
  46. Maude Desbois, communications officer, Mothers at the Front
  47. Catherine Chouinard, general director, Communagir
  48. Jean Paradis, Foundation does not flow with us
  49. Marie-Jacques Samson, Coordinator, South Shore in Transition
  50. Jacques Bouchard, Bertrand Guibord and Isabelle Thérien, Monitoring Committee, Popular Convergence
  51. Johanne Dion, Energy Committee, Montreal for All
  52. Renée-Claude Lorimier, Citizen Convergence Collective of Ahuntsic-Cartierville (CCC-AC)
  53. David Sylvestre, member, Carleton-sur-Mer Green Team
  54. Patrick Gloutney, president, CUPE-Québec
  55. Pierre Avignon, citizen committee Towards a green valley 
  56. Sophie Morin, Mothers at the Front Rive Sud
  57. Cristina Cabral, President, UES Local 800
  58. Daniel Green, co-president, SVP – Society to Defeat Pollution
  59. Rébecca Pétrin, general director, Eau Secours
  60. Geoff Clayden, representative, La Planète invites itself to parliament-Gaspé
  61. Bruno Detuncq, Quebec Hydrocarbon Vigilance Group (RVHQ)
  62. Anne Dionne, vice-president, Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ)

Letter endorsed by: 

  1. Lucie Sauvé, Center for research in education and training relating to the environment and eco-citizenship (Centr’ERE), UQAM 
  2. Johanne Béliveau, consulting historian
  3. Normand Brunet, retired from UQAM, teacher, researcher, coordinator
  4. Patrick Provost, citizen and professor, Laval University
  5. Lyne Lefebvre, associate professor, UQAM School of Design, Centr'ERE (and Mother at the Front)
  6. Jean-Pierre Desjardins, lecturer, UQAM
  7. Marie Saint-Arnaud, associate professor, Institute of Environmental Sciences, UQAM and Scientific Collective on Energy Issues in Quebec
  8. Réal Reid, renewable energy researcher, retired
  9. Olivier Riffon, professor of eco-consulting, head of the LAGORA research collective, UQAC
  10. Frédéric Fournier, professor, Department of Didactics, UQAM
  11. Laurence Brière, professor, Institute of Environmental Sciences, Centr'ERE, UQAM
  12. Fernando Hitt, professor, Faculty of Sciences, UQAM
  13. Denis Bourque, full professor, Department of Social Work, UQO
  14. Jean Lessard, professor emeritus, Faculty of Sciences, University of Sherbrooke
  15. Françoise Miquet, lecturer, University of Montreal
  16. Lucie Morin, doctoral student and lecturer at the School of Social Work, University of Montreal
  17. Charles-Antoine Bachand, professor of foundations of education, UQO
  18. Maurice Forget 
  19. Isabelle Miron, professor, Department of Literary Studies, UQAM
  20. Jean-Luc Dion, eng., retired professor, UQTR
  21. Stéphane Grenier, professor, School of Social Work, UQAT
  22. Julien Keller, professor, Faculty of Sciences, UQAM 
  23. Eric Pineault, professor, president of the scientific committee of the Institute of Environmental Sciences, UQAM 
  24. Alain Deneault, Professor of Philosophy, University of Moncton – Shippagan Campus

Copy conforming to:

  • Mr. Gregory Kelley, official opposition energy critic
  • Mr. Haroun Bouazzi, spokesperson for the second opposition group on the economy, innovation and energy
  • Mr. Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, spokesperson for the third opposition group on the economy, innovation and energy

Photo: Government of Quebec

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