Montreal - Quebec, September 12, 2022 - As the election approaches, Vire au vert, a coalition of 26 environmental and citizen groups, is inviting voters to learn about the environmental solutions proposed by their candidates during the Semaine des débats Vire au vert - a week of debates and interviews with local candidates across Quebec. The debates, which will take place from September 18 to 29, are being organized by citizens and local groups in about 30 ridings and regions (see list of events)
Voters want to know about environmental solutions
73% of Quebecers are worried about the impact of climate change. These debates are an opportunity for voters to learn about their candidates and the environmental proposals that they are putting forward. It is also an opportunity to see if the candidates make the necessary and concrete links between environmental protection and other major issues such as public welfare, public health and the economy.
Vire au vert had also called for a leaders' debate exclusively focused on solutions to the environmental crisis, but did not get a favorable response from the media.
Citizen groups and local organizations have therefore been working hard to get answers to their environmental questions and concerns through the Semaine des débats Vire au vert. It is a decisive moment to understand the commitment of the parties and their climate ambition to address these crises. Candidates will respond to citizens’ concerns about water, air quality, mobility and land use planning, adaptation to climate change, protection of agricultural land, natural environments and biodiversity.
In the absence of a leaders’ debate on the environmental and biodiversity crises, these candidate meetings make up the space and time needed to question the situation and to debate concrete solutions to climate change and adaptation.
The urgency to adapt
Quebec is already experiencing the impacts of climate change and declining biodiversity, and is nowhere near prepared for the challenges it is facing. Now scientifically proven and unfortunately tested by Quebecers, climate change poses serious risks: loss of lives, money and quality of life. The storms and violent winds that hit Quebec on May 21 cost Hydro-Québec over $70 million in repairs and left towns with no power for over two weeks. Such events, and the damage and costs they generate, can only be expected to increase with the growing impacts of the climate and biodiversity crises.
Quebecers are aware of the importance of environmental issues
According to a recent poll conducted by CBC/Radio-Canada’s ‘Boussole Électorale’ (between August 26 and August 31, 2022), 31% of respondents indicated that the environment was the most important issue in this election, ahead of health (25%) and the economy (22%).
"Now is the time to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, adapt our infrastructure, overhaul our health and economic systems and protect biodiversity. We need real solutions and ambition from political parties. What concrete and ambitious solutions are candidates proposing to their fellow citizens in terms of GHG reduction and mitigation, adaptation to the climate crisis and environmental protection?" asks the Vire au vert coalition.
This provincial election is crucial for the future of Quebec and the health and safety of its citizens. The next government will have the moral responsibility to prioritize the climate and biodiversity crises, and make its decisions with climate impacts in mind. Making the right decisions now will prepare Quebec to face the challenges that lie ahead, making our living environments more pleasant, healthier, greener, more equitable and more resilient.
To see where the debates will be taking place and to view the interviews, visit https://www.vireauvert.org/debats (in French).
48 recommendations shared with the political parties.
List of ridings and regions where debates and interviews are scheduled (in French).