An article in the Montreal Gazette on November 12 describes the rapid rise of a new grassroots group in the province: in English, called “The Planet goes to Parliament”. Their demonstrations have been covered by the CBC– including a march of 50,000 people in Montreal on November 10, calling for the newly-elected provincial government to make climate change action an urgent priority . A report of an earlier march in October is here .
In addition to marches and demonstrations, over 175,000 Quebecers have signed the group’s Pact for Transition (English version here ), French version here ), which calls for “radical, co-ordinated and societal transformation” . The Pact first calls for a solemn personal pledge to change behaviours “to wean ourselves off fossil fuels.” It also calls for the government to: enact a plan by 2020 for reaching Quebec’s climate targets; commit to reducing emissions by 50 per cent by 2030; develop an energy efficiency and electrification strategy; rule out any exploitation of fossil fuels in Quebec; and make climate change the first consideration of every policy. Dominic Champagne, a theatre producer and anti-fracking campaigner, is being credited with launching the mass movement, and states: “This time it’s not just left-wing ecologists and artists. It’s way larger … This is really fulfilling an empty space on the political landscape.”
The Quebec government is now led by the right-wing Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) party, which had the weakest environmental platform in the election campaign; Québec Solidaire, a new left-leaning party, had the most well-developed and ambitious climate platform , and went from 0 to 10 seats in the new legislature. (See a WCR explainer here). Since taking power in October, the CAQ government announced the cancellation of the Apuiat wind farm , which was to be built in partnership with Innu communities. As reported by the Energy Mix ,the Chair and Vice-Chair of Hydro-Québec resigned due to the cancellation. Details about the Apuiat project are provided by CBC here (Oct. 20).
The Planet Goes to Parliament has announced plans for at least two more climate protests, in Quebec City and in Montreal, during the COP24 meetings in Katowice Poland in December. The group is thinking big, with a goal of 1 million signatories to their Pact – out of a population of 8 million in the province.