Earlier today, the Mayor of Plateau Mont-Royal announced his resignation from Valérie Plante’s Montreal administration due to the city’s lack of concrete actions in the fight against climate change and environmental issues.
Although the Plante administration has taken several steps in the right direction since its election, notably with a 16% increase in the STM’s bus fleet, its actions are simply not sufficient to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement.
Projet Montréal was founded, as its name suggests, to transform Montréal. It is not with half measures that we will succeed in achieving this ambitious project, but with measures that are now considered “radical” by some.
In recent months, the administration and the mayor have been promoting a green image while defending the status quo on many issues. For example, during the student climate strike on March 15, Valérie Plante published a video in which she supported the student strike, while highlighting the achievements of her administration. Although I have a great deal of respect for the mayor, the statement sounded pretentious. Valérie Plante does not seem to understand that students and the environmental movement are demonstrating against the political class’s inaction on climate change. In short, she and her administration were also targeted by this strike. Either they do not understand this reality or they are applying a communications strategy designed to get on top of the issue while taking very few concrete steps. Contrary to what the administration has been saying, Montreal is by no means a leader in the fight against climate change.
Although Projet Montréal has already fulfilled many of its electoral commitments on the environment, everyone agrees that we must go further… much further. Projet Montréal has good intentions but their actions lack ambition.
The resignation of Luc Fernandez, a long-time environmentalist, should be the beginning of a major debate within the Projet Montréal. This party should go above and beyond its electoral commitments with respect to the environment. 16% more buses or an office mandated to “study” the pink line metro expansion are measures that simply do not match the scale of the problem. We need real leadership and we need it now. The entire city is counting on Valérie Plante to take action on the environment!
In conclusion, Mr. Fernandez’s resignation reminds us of former French environment minister Mr. Hulot’s surprise last summer under similar circumstances. Both are evidence of the lack of urgency and ambition within current governments in their jurisdictions with respect to the fight against climate change. Although I always encourage environmentalists to get actively involved in politics, I fully understand the frustrations of these political actors.
Leader of the Green Party of Quebec