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Letter to political parties: Privatization of the banks and the problem of access to water for all Quebecers

Montreal, May 30, 2022

The Liberal Party of Quebec
1150 Wilfrid-Hamel Blvd.
Quebec (Quebec) G1M 2S4

The Parti Québécois
4115 Ontario Street East, Suite 325
Montreal (Quebec) H1V 1J7

Quebec Solidaire
533 Ontario Street East, Suite 010
Montreal (Quebec) H2L 1N8

Conservative Party of Quebec
400-1020 Bouvier Street
Quebec (Quebec) G2K 0K9

Subject: Your party's guidelines regarding the privatization of the banks and the problem of access to water for all Quebecers


A few months before the next provincial elections, we are asking you to know your intentions regarding the problem of access to water for nautical activities, vacations, hunting and fishing for all Quebecois. It is recognized that access to lakes and rivers is increasingly complex in several regions of Quebec. However, the vast majority of them are public and the situation continues to deteriorate a little more each year. Lakes and rivers benefit many Quebecers who, together, contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to the economy, while being important players in the conservation and development of the natural environment.

Each year, users of rivers, lakes and the St. Lawrence River encounter more and more constraints when carrying out their activities and a greater part of these is reserved for riverside residents who have no rights. particularly on these. A common resource only becomes accessible to privileged people.

In 2020, several stakeholders from the nautical, vacation and hunting and fishing sectors, supported by more than a hundred organizations and businesses from industry and commerce, came together inside of the Collective for Fair Access to Public Water Bodies in order to coordinate their advocacy actions for equitable access to the various public water bodies in Quebec for all users.

The interventions made by this Collective are supported by several elements of laws, regulations
and policies of Quebec:

The Law on the conservation and development of wildlife which stipulates that the practice of hunting and fishing is a right.

The Civil Code of Quebec which provides that the bodies and watercourses of Quebec must remain equitably accessible to all. It also mentions that the bed of navigable and floatable lakes and rivers is, up to the high water mark, the property of the State.

The Law affirming the collective nature of water resources and aiming to strengthen their protection. In section 1, WATER, COLLECTIVE RESOURCE, ARTICLE 1, it is stated that “Being of vital interest, surface water and groundwater, in their natural state, are resources which are part of the heritage common to the Quebec nation.

The National Water Policy, for its part, indicates that "For the Quebec economy, water is a major asset and contributes, in a very high proportion, to Quebec's tourism revenue... It specifies that we must expand access to water…” and “that municipalities, through their zoning regulations, have the possibility and power to develop and reserve public access to water. They also have the power to go as far as expropriation to retain public use sites allowing access to water.”

Finally, we can add that in Canada, the rules affecting navigation are strictly under federal jurisdiction.

The Collective therefore believes that the next Quebec government will have to seriously get involved and take concrete actions to remedy the situation. It must also establish a framework establishing reasonable and equitable standards and cost scales that may be required by municipalities for the use of access infrastructure and boat washing stations. The Collective also expects that the next government will firmly take control of this issue and avoid leaving municipalities, or other stakeholders, with full responsibility for the actions that must be taken.

In this case, could you clearly tell us what your party's commitments and objectives will be in terms of preserving and developing public access to the St. Lawrence River, lakes and rivers throughout Quebec and what will be your strategy to this end?

Please accept, Madam, Sir, the expression of our distinguished consideration.

The Collective for equitable access to bodies of water

Photo: Claude LapriseUnsplash


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