Benoît Charette at the CORIM:
a complacent interview?
The environment and the fight against climate change abandoned in the face of economic imperatives
By Luc Archambault
While the Conseil des Relations Internationales de Montréal (CORIM) surprised us with the accuracy of the interventions of its president, Pierre Marc Johnson, during the interview with the Chinese ambassador, Peiwu Cong, the same cannot be said of the complacent interview that preceded it, on April 8, with Québec’s environment minister, Benoît Charette. The discussion was about the fight against climate change and was led by Richard Mimeau, General Manager of the Conseil des Entreprises en Technologies Environnementales du Québec (CETEQ).
The interview was complacent because Mr. Mimeau did not ask the Minister any difficult questions. Instead, he was used as a prop, and the Minister simply rehashed the outdated information he had already revealed last November. In fact, there is nothing new under this government where the environment is considered as an abandoned child, left to the economic imperatives of multinationals who are having a field day. It is almost as if we were back in the Duplessis and Union Nationale era.
In fact, there is nothing new under this government where the environment is considered as an abandoned child, left to the economic imperatives of multinationals who are having a field day.
Take, for example, the issue of GHG emissions, which this government must address in order to meet its climate objectives. When asked about restricting the advertising promotion of SUVs, the Minister admitted that he had no plans to do so. He said he was banking on the electrification of transportation and the banning of all sales of new gasoline-powered vehicles in Quebec… by 2035.
One cannot say that Benoît Charette distinguishes himself by a short or medium-term vision (we are not even talking about the long term). There was no mention of forestry and the preservation of the boreal forest, of open-pit mines, of the high level of water pollution. No, the minister only talked about “the future and breakthrough technologies with the greatest potential to reduce emissions, taking into account Quebec’s industrial composition and the maintenance of its competitiveness”. He also spoke of “identifying the potential for achieving carbon neutrality by 2050”.
What is puzzling about this exercise is the choice of Richard Mimeau as interviewer. Instead of letting the minister quibble about his more or less short-term vision of the environment, why not bring together a panel of journalists, activists, and Richard Mimeau as a wingman since he is involved in the political family, close to the civil service and institutionalized power?
‘One cannot say that Benoît Charette distinguishes himself by a short or medium-term vision (we are not even talking about the long term).’
Because rightly, listening to anyone rant about policies that are no longer relevant – such as the implementation of the Green Economy Plan 2030, the details of which were long ago leaked to the press and which has already been the subject of several reactions and criticisms – ends up drowning the fish in a sauce of indifference.
Perhaps we should see this as the CAQ’s true environmental strategy. In any case, in spite of these unedifying remarks, we must thank the CORIM for the opportunity to see politicians struggling with their half-truths and their visions for a future that is several decades beyond their term of office.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of WestmountMag.ca or its publishers.
Feature image: the Technoparc Wetlands, by Patrick Barnard
Luc Archambault, writer and journalist, globe-trotter at heart, passionate about movies, music, literature and contemporary dance, came back to Montreal from an extended stay in China to pursue his unrelenting quest for artistic meaning.