Former environment ministers want Quebec to adopt climate change legislation

Six former Quebec environment ministers have signed a letter addressed to Premier François Legault, calling upon the province to adopt climate change legislation proposed in December by author, director and activist Dominic Champagne on behalf of an environmental coalition.

In a letter sent on Monday and obtained by Le Devoir, Clifford Lincoln, Lise Bacon, Paul Bégin, Thomas Mulcair, Daniel Breton and Isabelle Melançon say they favour the immediate adoption by the National Assembly of legislation ensuring Quebec’s environmental obligations.

The proposed law would establish reduction objectives for greenhouse gas emissions, and could make those targets obligatory. The bill could also make it obligatory that all other legislation adopted by the province respect those objectives.

The six former ministers describe their initiative as unprecedented and a break from political partisanship in order to respond to the climate crisis. Their statement is accompanied by a letter signed by 18 professors of environmental law who also support the adoption of the legislation.

Soon after the Oct. 1 Quebec election, Legault met with Champagne, the latter saying afterward that he was pleasantly surprised by the encounter and that the premier seemed willing to respond to the coalition’s demand.

Known as the Pacte pour la transition, the coalition is asking the government and citizens to commit to rapid action to slow the effects of climate change. It also echoes the conclusion of an intergovernmental panel of environmental experts who predict decisions will have to be made within the next two years if irreversible environmental disaster is to be avoided.