On her first day as Premier of Quebec, Pauline Marois, moved ahead to implement major environmental promises she made during the election campaign. After her first cabinet meeting yesterday, September 20, Marois announced the government will shut down the Gentilly-2 nuclear plant, will require full environmental hearings before shale gas drilling can go ahead in the province and will cancel the $58-million loan that Investment Quebec, a government agency, gave at the end of June 2012 to reopen the Jeffrey Mine.
Environmental groups in Quebec welcomed the decisions taken by Marois and applauded the fact that she has appointed three former environmental activists to hold key cabinet positions in her new Quebec government. Federal Conservative Minister of Industry, Christian Paradis, meanwhile slammed the new government for shutting down the asbestos industry and the Liberal Party of Quebec, which was ousted from power in the September 4 election, expressed fear at the presence of the environmentalists in the Marois cabinet, calling them “radicals”.
The Liberal Party of Quebec, now the opposition party, will likely oppose the new policies that the Parti Québécois (PQ) government wishes to implement. As a minority government, the PQ will face real challenges. However, with the defeat and resignation of former Premier Jean Charest, the Liberal Party will not want to trigger another election before it has reorganized itself and chosen a new leader.
Marois is showing serious commitment to implement her campaign promises regarding Gentilly-2 nuclear plant, shale gas and asbestos. Environmentalists and health advocates in Quebec, in Canada and overseas are hoping she will succeed.
Kathleen Ruff, founder, RightOnCanada.ca
* ‘A beautiful day’ for environmentalists. Shale gas, Gentilly both get the chop. Montreal Gazette, September 20, 2012 http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/beautiful+environmentalists/7275591/story.html
* Premier Marois makes good on major promises, September 20, 2012 http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Premier+Marois+makes+good+major+promises/7275294/story.html
* PQ government takes on three controversial industries in first day in office. The Canadian Press, Sep. 20, 2012 http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/pq-government-takes-on-three-controversial-industries-in-first-day-in-office-1.964649#ixzz274BBNHAK
* Quebec gas in peril as PQ signals ban, The Globe and Mail, September 20, 2012 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/quebec-to-seek-ban-on-shale-gas-fracking-minister/article4557380/