Quebec will announce “in the coming weeks, the next few months” an additional investment to make the province’s infrastructure more resilient to the effects of climate change, Premier François Legault hinted on Wednesday.
During question period in the National Assembly, the Prime Minister was again pressed by the parliamentary leader of Québec solidaire (QS), Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, on the need to set aside amounts in the provincial budget to prevent and better respond to extreme weather events such as ice storms and floods.
As he had done the day before, Mr. Legault praised his Plan for a Green Economy 2030, which was increased by 18% in the last budget and which already contains sums for climate adaptation. However, the Prime Minister has come forward to confirm that part of the money added will go to this issue.
“In the adjustment that has been made, although not minimal, there, 1.4 billion more, the Minister of the Environment is in the process of distributing this 1.4 billion between measures to reduce GHGs and measures adaptation,” the Prime Minister revealed on Wednesday.
“We don’t want to put too much pressure on him, but I can’t wait to see the update on this plan. Then yes, there are additional measures that are going to be included,” he confirmed.
This update of the Plan for a green economy will be presented “in the coming weeks, the next few months” by Minister Benoit Charette, underlined Mr. Legault, who at the same time invited Mr. Nadeau-Dubois to be patient. .
During the last election campaign, QS had proposed setting up an Emergency Climate Fund, which 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 which plunged hundreds of thousands of Quebecers into darkness, some of which for several days, at the beginning of the month.
Asked about this proposal on Tuesday, Mr. Legault had touted his current plan, without however mentioning the addition of new sums as he did on Wednesday.
Quebec has been treated to its share of extreme weather events in recent months, ranging from the derecho of last May to the current rise in river levels in several regions, including major holiday snowfalls and the early April freezing rain storm.
“(Tuesday), the Prime Minister was saying that his government was doing enough to adapt to climate change. Today, he recognizes that more needs to be done and opens the door to investing new sums. Finally ! It’s been since the last election campaign that cities have been asking him to act, ”recalled Mr. Nadeau-Dubois on Wednesday.
“On the other hand, François Legault is still unable to quantify Quebec’s needs in terms of adaptation to climate change. To govern is to foresee. We know it will cost us dearly, but we have to know how much. I ask the Prime Minister to estimate the amounts needed to be set aside to prepare for the impacts of climate change,” he added.
QS would like Quebec to set up a fund similar to the one set up in British Columbia in 2017 to better adapt to the new climate reality. This province has so far invested $369 million in its Community Emergency Preparedness Fund, $180 million of which was injected earlier this year.