Montreal

'We are waiting for real action': Opposition MNAs demand Legault lay out plan to fight climate change

"We are waiting for real action," said the Liberal critic on climate change, Marie Montpetit, backing those calling on the premier to commit the province to the "socio-economic transition" necessary to reach greenhouse gas emission targets.

United front of MNAs and defeated candidates wants concrete steps to be taken in first parliamentary session

Alexandre Thibodeau, second from left, inspired opposition MNAs and defeated candidates to present a united front in the call for a commitment to meeting greenhouse gas targets. Here, he is flanked by Liberal MP Marie Montpetit, left, Québec Solidaire's Manon Massé and PQ member Sylvain Gaudreault, right. (Radio-Canada )

Quebec's three opposition parties have formed a common front — joining forces to call on the new government to take swift action in the fight against climate change.

The call was made by a group of more than 200 candidates who were defeated in the general election and, in a Thursday news conference at the National Assembly, opposition MNAs threw their collective weight behind the demand.

Among them was Liberal MNA Marie Montpetit, the Opposition critic on climate change. 

"We wait for Mr. Legault to show us what he is going to do, not say — what he is going to do for the environment," she said. "We are waiting for real action."

François Legault will have a chance to explain what steps he is going to take in his inaugural speech, she said.

The united front was inspired by a Quebec citizen, Alexandre Thibodeau. 

"We will listen to his inaugural speech," said Thibodeau. "We are waiting for an answer."

The defeated candidates say they represent 15 per cent of the votes cast on Oct. 1. Though they were invited, defeated CAQ candidates did not join the effort. 

"Global warming is a matter of national security, public health, prosperity, conservation of biodiversity and safeguarding our territory," they say, in a signed declaration.

They want the Legault government to convene a general meeting on the climate emergency in the first legislative session, which begins next week.

Transition to reduced emissions

The group is calling on the new government to commit the province to the "socio-economic transition" necessary to reach greenhouse gas emission targets.

It also wants the government to ensure all Quebecers are aware of the urgency of the situation so that they "undertake the transitions required" at the provincial and local levels.

PQ member Sylvain Gaudreault told reporters his party is in favour of an "anti-climate deficit" law, aimed at ensuring Quebec stays on course with greenhouse gas reduction targets.

For her part, Québec Solidaire's Manon Massé said the environment has and continues to be her party's "priority of priorities." The province, she said, can set an example for other governments to follow.

"We can be a leader, but we have to invest in that," she said.

"If we get together, we can have more solutions."

Ministry plans 'effective and efficient measures'

Environment Minister MarieChantal Chassé has every intention to take on climate change, her office said in a statement.

"We share the people's concerns about climate change," she said in a statement.

The Liberals and Parti Québécois did not lead Quebec to achieving the reduction targets, the statement said, but "our government intends to put in place effective and efficient measures that will allow Quebec to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions."

During the election campaign, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), scored lowest among Quebec's four main political parties
 in a report card prepared by environmental groups.

However, after unveiling his cabinet on Oct. 18, Legault told reporters he has a "sincere concern for environmental challenges," and "we must do more to fight global warming."

An estimated 50,000 people marched in Montreal earlier this month to show their support for climate action — expressing frustration that it wasn't a priority issue during the election campaign.

With files from Radio-Canada

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