Ambitious plans to cut emissions, extract oil subject of Bill 106 hearings

A week of hearings aimed at laying out how Quebec will drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions over the next 14 years and manage its own petroleum resources is underway at the National Assembly.

Hearings into Quebec's energy and oil policy kick off today at National Assembly

Quebec Energy and Natural Resources Minister Pierre Arcand tabled Bill 106, a wide-ranging piece of legislation aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions and managing the province's oil resources, in early June. ( Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

A week of hearings aimed at laying out how Quebec will drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions over the next 14 years and manage its own petroleum resources is underway at the National Assembly. 

Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Pierre Arcand tabled Bill 106 in early June.

The proposed law would create Energy Transition Québec – an agency charged with implementing the government's ambitious clean energy plans. 

In 2015, Environment Minister David Heurtel announced what some consider a bold greenhouse gas emission target, a cut in emissions to 37.5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030.

The agency is to be funded by royalties from energy distributors and through a new fund dedicated to clean energy projects. 

Bill 106 also includes measures to fund the infrastructure necessary "for the electrification of shared transportation services."

Plan to exploit petroleum resources

As well, the bill includes provisions to put in place the Petroleum Resources Act, which lays out the government's plan to oversee the sustainable development of oil resources while making sure people, property and the environment are safe.

The law governing the Quebec Energy Board is also to be modified, to include a new process to mediate consumer complaints. It also would include measures to improve the delivery of natural gas.

Environmental, business and energy interests from across Quebec and from elsewhere in Canada are scheduled to appear at the hearings.

The Parti Québécois's energy critic, Alain Therrien, has called on the Liberals to divide the bill. 

In a news release, Therrien said it's "contradictory to include in a bill about greenhouse gases a bill about Quebec's clean energy transition."

He believes both issues pose significant challenges and merit their own bills and separate debates.