Citizens of Quebec will vote on October 1 in a provincial election, with the leading parties, the Liberals (led by Philippe Couillard) and the Coalition Avenir Quebec (led by Francois Legault) so far emphasizing their economic plans. It is the new, urban-based Québec Solidaire party which has raised the profile of the issue of climate change, with its proposal to ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2030 – as reported in “Quebec election promise to ban new gas cars and go electric draws praise and skepticism” in the National Observer (Aug. 28) . The article reports that, the 2030 ban of new gasoline-powered vehicles would be followed by a ban on the sale of new hybrid vehicles in 2040, with the goal of eliminating all gas and hybrid vehicles from Quebec roads by 2050. Quebec’s existing zero-emission vehicle law and regulations – considered trendsetting when passed in 2016 and 2017 – require 10 per cent of new vehicle sales to be low- or zero-emission by 2025.
The full program, Plan d’investissement en transport collectif (available in French only) was released on August 28, and further proposes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 48 per cent in 2030 and 95 per cent in 2050, compared to 1990 levels. As well as the ban of conventional cars, the party proposes increased spending on public transport infrastructure, and reduction of public transit costs by half. In launching the Plan, Québec solidaire co-leader Manon Massé said that it would make Quebec a world leader in the fight against climate change, and would be the most important social change in the province since the Quiet Revolution. She also forecast that the Plan would create 300,000 green jobs by 2030.
So far there has been little fanfare for climate change issues from the mainstream parties – a CBC special feature summarizes all four provincial party platforms on all issues, including the environment. The right-leaning Coalition Avenir Québec party did hit the headlines on August 16 in advance of the campaign start when it proposed the cancellation of the Apuiat wind project, a $600-million wind energy investment on traditional Innu territory. Reaction focused less on the attack on renewable energy than on what it reflected about the party’s attitude to Indigenous rights, as well as the comparison to the recent cancellation by Doug Ford of the White Pines wind project in Ontario.
The Quebec Federation of Labour released its own statement on election issues ; its statement on a green economy, including Just Transition, is available in French only, as Il faut adopter un plan québécois de transition juste vers une économie verte et « sans pétrole » .
For English-language coverage, see the National Observer ongoing special feature at Quebec 2018 , or the Montreal Gazette, a Postmedia company, which also maintains a special section of election coverage.