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Press release  •  1 min

The Quebec budget slows down the ecological transition

Quebec City, March 12, 2024 - The budget tabled by the Minister of Finance falls far short of what’s needed to prepare Quebec for the environmental challenges that the Minister himself has identified as one of the main factors affecting the province's long-term economic prospects.

Nevertheless, the Finance Minister's read on environmental and social issues is quite lucid. The increase in the food aid subsidy, the creation of an investment fund to acquire farmland for the next generation of farmers, and the funding of initiatives to deal with major disasters all go in this direction.

However, in a context that he himself describes as "challenging", minister Girard has sprinkled in a few measures without fully assuming his environmental obligations. For example, in justifying the phasing-out of the Roulez vert electric vehicle subsidy program, the Minister asserts that it is a sub-optimal program in terms of dollars per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Yet he refuses to adequately fund public transit, which would enable him to achieve his objectives in this regard.

"The government is aware of the challenges and their magnitude, but there is no sense of urgency in this budget. It doesn't address the distress of farmers. We're not adequately funding public transportation in all regions of Quebec to enable us to get around at a low cost. We're depriving ourselves of ecofiscal revenues, and we're not funding the legislative initiatives that have been adopted and are planned," asserts Marc-André Viau, Équiterre’s Director of Government Relations.

An example of incoherence is the government's approach to climate adaptation.

"On adaptation, the government is repeating the same mistakes it made with the energy transition: not treating these issues as environmental issues. For them, the energy transition is essentially an economic issue, and adaptation is a question of public safety. This truncated vision means that the political and budgetary response is inadequate," he explains.

We will unfortunately have to wait for the next update of the government’s measures for its Plan Green Economy in order to get a clear picture of environmental investments.

"The government must be hoping that climate change will hold off so that its budget plan holds up. It's not going to happen," concludes Marc-André Viau.

Équiterre's offices are located on Indigenous lands that have not been ceded by treaty, which we now call Montreal and Quebec City. We recognize that Indigenous peoples have protected their territories since immemorial times and have used their traditional knowledge to guard the lands and waters. We are grateful to live on these lands and are committed to continuing our efforts to protect them. Read more

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