Opinion

Liberals Flush Capital


Liberals Flush Capital

We are at a major turning point in our fight against climate change. This week, CAQ Leader François Legault, will fly to the City of Light in order to participate in the United Nation climate change conference.

I am delighted by the efforts of leaders from all four corners of the world to reach an ambitious resolution. Fortunately, Quebec shows no exception facing this borderless issue and will not arrive to Paris empty handed. I am convinced that COP 21 will be an occasion for us to affirm and solidify our position as a world leader in the initiation of this new environmental effort.

However, I have some major concerns, in particular at the economic level, with the plan presented earlier this month by Philippe Couillard`s Liberal government. It is clear that once again, the government has missed the target and that the lack of economic leadership and competence are catching up to them. The Minister for the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, David Heurtel, is planning to implement actions that will uselessly harm our economy in the long run.

Flushing Our Money

Even though it appears ambitious, Quebec’s target reduction of 37.5% in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, considering the 1990 thresholds, is anything but. The strategy adopted to reach this goal reveals its amateurism and lack of ambition. The competence of the Environment Minister is not to be measured by the goals, but by the means.

In reality, half of the Liberal plan rests on a compensation scheme. This means a massive recourse to purchase “rights to pollute” in the Carbon market, instead of investing in concrete GHG reduction strategies of scale. This is a redundant strategy according to many economic players.

Quebecers are unaware that in Paris, Couillard and Heurtel will commit to reduce Quebec’s carbon inventory by 26% from the 1990 figure. The difference, be it 11.5%, will then be purchased in carbon credits for at least 327 million dollars, from states that participate in the carbon market, such as California. This deceptive strategy creates an inflated target reduction and undermines Quebec’s credibility in environmental matters.

How will David Heurtel defend his compensation scheme in front of the big leaders of the European Union and the United States, who have excluded this method entirely from their plan of action for emission reductions?

The Liberal strategy is simple: It consists of flushing hundreds of millions of dollars, significant amounts in today’s economic context, which may otherwise have been invested in innovative projects that could create wealth and quality jobs in Quebec. This also hinders our 23 billion dollar commercial deficit.

We are at the dawn of a new-world reality. Shortly, we will see several states benefit of foreign capital from sales of carbon credits. Other states will find themselves in the unfortunate situation of having to pay millions for those rights to pollute.

Believe it or not, despite its hydroelectric potential and innovative capacities, Philippe Couillard is planning for Quebec to be in the second category. What a lack of ambition!

By accepting and encouraging to flush Quebec’s capital abroad, Philippe Couillard is also flushing his own responsibilities as the Prime Minister of Quebec towards Quebecers and their future generations.