The Green Coalition’s
First Virtual AGM
The environmental organization holds the first virtual annual general meeting in its 32-year history
On August 12, 2020, the Green Coalition held the first virtual annual general meeting in its 32-year history by Zoom given the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Gareth Richardson began by greeting all participants. The evening’s host, Alison Hackney of the Environmental Legacy Fund, opened the meeting with a commemoration of Coralie Deny, former Executive Director of the Montreal Regional Environment Council, who passed away on July 2.
In June, Coralie personally received the Green Coalition’s special award. At the AGM, Vice-President Tom Schwalb said that the Green Coalition wanted to recognize the devotion and work of this exemplary woman. “Coralie Deny was a light on the hill,” he said, an inspiration to us all.
Bill 61 poses a real danger to the environment because the government is giving itself total power of expropriation… It’s like a totalitarian regime.
– Tommy Montpetit, Ciel et terre
Speaker Tommy Montpetit of Ciel et Terre followed with a hard-hitting and informative critique of the Legault government’s Bill 61. Tommy Montpetit said that with this legislation, in its current form, environmental protection no longer exists. “This law poses a real danger to the environment because the government is giving itself total power of expropriation,” he said. Between 90 per cent and 98 per cent of certificates of approval are issued to developers by the Department of Environment with a simple statement of compliance from the proponents. “It’s like a totalitarian regime,” Montpetit said.
In 2020, the Green Coalition strongly criticized the Quebec government for the environmental damage that Bill 61 would cause. At an extraordinary teleconference on June 6, 2020, participants from across Quebec cheered and supported the Green Coalition’s demands. The Government of Quebec must stop attacking the environmental protection of our province. The Government must drop the “economic stimulus” clauses in Bill 61 that are specifically designed to further weaken environmental protections. Our government must enact and enforce regulations that strengthen environmental protection, not gut it.
‘The health emergency situation can at no time give rise to such exceptional measures as suspending the application of the provisions of the Environment Quality Act.’
– from the formal notice sent by the Green Coalition to the Government of Quebec regarding Bill 61
Campbell Stuart, President of the Environmental Legacy Fund, continued the discussion with an explanation of the formal notice sent by the Green Coalition to the Government of Quebec regarding Bill 61. The letter addressed to Environment Minister Benoit Charrette stated that: “The health emergency situation can at no time give rise to such exceptional measures as suspending the application of the provisions of the Environment Quality Act”. Furthermore, the public will not be informed or consulted in order to speed up the projects under study.
The appointment of Sophie Paradis, Director of Conservation at WWF-Canada, and Campbell Stuart was approved. These new members will bring a strong presence and a wealth of expertise to the Board of Directors!
The following member groups submitted reports on their activities: SOS Forêt Fernand-Séguin (Guy Turcotte); Coalition – Friends of the Environment (Susan Hawker); Friends of Meadowbrook Park (Louise Legault); Association des citoyens de Mont-Saint-Hilaire, including the Zone A-16 citizens’ committee (Pierre Nault); Comité pour la mise en valeur du Bois-de-Saraguay (Jocelyne Leduc Gauvin) ; Regroupement des résidents de Candiac (Catherine Vallée); Association for the Protection of Angell Woods (Jon Williams); Trainsparence (Laurel Thompson); Ralliement contre la pollution radioactive (Tom Schwalb); Sauvons L’Anse-à-L’Orme (Sue Stacho); Sauvons la Falaise et Urbanature (Lisa Mintz); Environmental Legacy Fund (Campbell Stuart); Save the Park! (Patrick Barnard).
Catherine Vallée informed everyone of a major problem in the region – the future of several golf courses. In Candiac, for example, the golf course is zoned recreational, but a developer has bought the land and a consultation will take place in September on a zoning change. According to Catherine Vallée, there is “very little forest cover” left in Candiac.
‘Sue Stacho celebrated the victory of the group Sauvons L’Anse-à-L’Orme: the Grand parc de l’Ouest has become a reality and the 185 hectares of wet meadows in Pierrefonds will be saved!’
Louise Legault of Friends of Meadowbrook Park is now trying to bring together the various groups that are trying to protect the golf courses as green spaces.
Pierre Nault said that Mont-Saint-Hilaire “may be a flagship town, but our elected officials don’t see it that way. ” A theme emphasized by Guy Turcotte of SOS Forêt Fernand-Séguin: “We have to prepare again, mobilize, alert the media” because the work is perpetual.
Tom Schwalb of the Rally Against Radioactive Pollution described a horrible situation: $1 billion a year invested to poison the Ottawa River for centuries – a crime subsidized by Canadians’ taxes.
Sue Stacho celebrated the victory of the group Sauvons L’Anse-à-L’Orme: the Grand parc de l’Ouest has become a reality and the 185 hectares of wet meadows in Pierrefonds will be saved! Sue Stacho carried a strong message: don’t give up, it’s still possible, keep fighting!
Lisa Mintz talked about her successes – the Dalle-Parc will be created and the falaise Saint-Jacques will be part of a large Turcot Park. Also, Urbanature received $5,000 from the Red Cross to create virtual tours of the falaise Saint-Jacques.
In closing, Alison Hackney thanked the people who participated in this first virtual Annual General Meeting of the Green Coalition – the first in its 32 years of existence.
As Sue Stacho said – keep up the fight!
Video of the AGM
The deliberations (mainly in French) of the meeting can be followed via this link us02web.zoom.us/rec/share
For more information, please contact Patrick Barnard at 514 463-0573 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Feature image: Technoparc wetlands by Patrick Barnard
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