Premier François Legault refused on Tuesday to commit to creating a special fund dedicated to responding to extreme weather events, as demanded by Québec solidaire, since he believes that the Government of Québec already offers a lot of help to municipalities and companies affected by these phenomena thanks to its Plan for a Green Economy 2030.

Tuesday afternoon at the National Assembly, Mr. Legault praised his Plan for a Green Economy (PEV), which provides for investments of 9 billion over five years to mitigate the effects of the Quebec economy on climate change, but also to adapt it to new meteorological realities.

The leader of the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) thus answered several questions from the parliamentary leader of Québec solidaire (QS), Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, at the Blue Room, who wanted to know why Quebec does not have a special fund to respond to emergency situations, such as ice storms, storms and floods.

“The climate is changing. Extreme weather, spring ice storms and floods, we’re going to have more and more of them and it’s going to cost us collectively very, very, very dearly,” recalled Mr. Nadeau-Dubois.

During the last election campaign, QS had proposed setting up an Emergency Climate Fund that would make it possible to respond quickly to requests for assistance in emergency situations, while strengthening Quebec’s infrastructures so that they are more able to withstand extreme conditions.

The Solidarity MNA for Verdun, Alejandra Zaga Mendez, also made a public statement on this subject on Sunday, a little more than a week after the major ice storm that plunged hundreds of thousands of Quebecers into darkness, some of which for several days, at the beginning of the month.

According to her, “it is not normal that in 2023, Quebec has not yet set up an emergency fund specifically dedicated to climate disasters”, which would be used, among other things, to help municipalities, organizations communities and small businesses that suffer losses in such disasters.

During the election campaign last year, Québec solidaire had proposed to place 500 million per year in such a fund, to then improve it depending on its use.

Mr. Legault, however, believes that the government’s EPI already fulfills several of the objectives contained in the QS proposal.

“I think we’re saying the same thing,” he said. When I talk about shoreline erosion, it’s not the fight against climate change, it’s not to reduce GHGs, it’s adaptation. In the EPI, there are measures that may be requested by municipalities, by companies, by organizations of all kinds, for, among other things, adaptation to climate change.

“So in the EPI, 9 billion is a lot of money,” he said. That’s far more than just about any other jurisdiction in North America. »

In an interview Sunday with La Presse Canadienne, Ms. Zaga Mendez, who holds a doctorate in sustainable development, felt that Quebec should take inspiration from British Columbia, which has set up a fund for adaptation to change. in 2017. This province has so far invested $369 million in its Community Emergency Preparedness Fund, including $180 million that was injected earlier this year.

“We are entering an era in which the climate and the environment will play a very important role in terms of instability,” she said. We don’t want to scare anyone, but we have to be ready. »

With a segregated fund, “you can prepare to invest in better facilities to not just act as a disaster, but actually adapt to climate change,” she argued.

On Tuesday, Mr. Legault assured that the provisions contained in the EPI, which has just been improved by 18% in the last budget, already meet the demands of QS. He also noted that the EPI also responds to a request from municipalities, which had requested 2 billion from the government to help them with their climate adaptation during the last election campaign.

“If there is a project that comes from a municipality, which is more effective than a project that comes from a company or a ministry, we will take the project that comes from the municipality. What municipalities are telling us is that they want their own $2 billion. They have 9 billion available,” said the prime minister.