The CAQ government recently announced that it would end hydrocarbon exploration and development in Quebec. This is good news for the environment and a good step in the right direction to address the climate crisis and to engage in a true green transition. 

Moreover, the exploitation of hydrocarbons has never been socially acceptable in Quebec, as evidenced by the strong mobilization of citizens and environmental groups that forced the government to put an end to the oil and gas industry in Quebec. It is important for this victory to be complete to not offer any compensation to these major polluters who are largely responsible for the climate crisis we are experiencing. It is therefore perfectly normal not to compensate these companies that are harmful to the climate, especially since no law obliges the government to compensate these companies. The Centre Québécois du droit en environnement is unequivocal: “If the political will is to respect Quebec’s commitments in the fight against climate change and to position itself as a leader in this area, the province can adopt a law putting an end to the hydrocarbon industry on its territory, without compensation for the companies affected, even retroactively.

The Green Party of Quebec supports the petitions launched by associations, environmental groups and community organizations to put an end to the possibility of compensating oil and gas companies following the adoption of the anti-drilling law. 

Indeed, these compensations can cost Quebecers millions of dollars, while these public funds could be used for other purposes such as helping populations suffering from climate change or helping with the energy transition.  As a reminder, in 2017 the Couillard government compensated its partners in the limited partnership created for the project, Hydrocarbures Anticosti, with a total of more than 61 million dollars. This amount is in addition to the 115 million that the Marois government and its Minister of Natural Resources Martine Ouellette had given to the industry to carry out these same drillings with hydraulic fracturing! This scenario should not be repeated with the CAQ government, especially in these times when the health crisis has put a strain on the pollution portfolio. Further compensation to the industry will set a dangerous precedent, especially for provinces with larger oil industries that will never have the funds to compensate their industry in the event of a state-imposed shutdown. 

The Green Party of Quebec says YES to a ban on oil and gas development and NO to compensation for oil companies operating in Quebec.

Let’s stand up! No to the oil companies!

Halimatou Bah

Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Quebec 

Photo Credit: Daniel Barnes / Getty Images

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