08 JUNE 2020
Bill 61 on economic recovery: more than 100 environmental and advocacy organizations, unions, social and citizen movements, businesses, environmental and land use planning professionals, financial, academic, educational, health, and outdoor stakeholders are calling on the Government of Québec to invest in the workforce rather than relax environmental requirements.
Québec, June 8th, 2020 - Bill 61 aimed at stimulating Québec's economy, introduced on June 3rd by the ministre responsable de l’Administration gouvernementale et président du Conseil du trésor, must be amended in order to renounce the relaxation of environmental rules. Other solutions exist to ensure a rapid recovery: we suggest starting by building on the strengthening of the government's workforce to ensure a healthy and sustainable recovery that takes into account the health and ecological issues we are facing.
We are concerned about the risks of destruction of natural environments and the possible impacts on species at risk that could result from the implementation of the Bill in its current form. It is essential to ensure that recovery efforts put forward do not jeopardize Québec's ecosystems and biological diversity, the cornerstone of our collective resilience in the face of health and ecological issues. Relaxing environmental rules would generate harmful environmental, social, and economic consequences for Québec.
Moreover, we are very concerned about various sections limiting parliamentary debates or changing the deadlines for publication and coming into force of regulations. It is essential to preserve the rules to ensure respect for basic democratic principles and citizen participation. The democratic life of a society is a prerequisite for an inclusive and successful recovery. It should not be sacrificed in the name of recovery.
We recognize the exceptional nature of the current health crisis and the need to act quickly and effectively. We believe, however, that it is possible and imperative to reconcile economic recovery with respect for the environment. In order to help speed up the delays associated with the environmental authorization process, we propose to increase the staff of the Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques and the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs. Increasing staff while building on the important work already done in biodiversity analysis and territorial planning would combine environmental protection with reduced delays.
The environmental requirements in place in Québec represent one of our best guarantees of a prosperous, healthy, and stable future. Responsible management of the health crisis and recovery requires that Bill 61 be reworked to meet our obligations to current and future generations.
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