Montreal

Environment hurt by Quebec separatism: Suzuki

David Suzuki believes Canada could have been a world leader in adopting Kyoto Protocol emission targets if former federal environment minister Lucien Bouchard had chosen the environment over Quebec sovereignty.

David Suzuki believes Canada could have been a world leader in adopting Kyoto Protocol emission targets if former federal environment minister Lucien Bouchard had chosen the environment over Quebec sovereignty.

Suzuki accused Bouchard of abandoning the environment nearly 20 years ago, when he jumped from the Conservative ship to help create the Bloc Québécois.

The outspoken environmentalist made the comments Wednesday during a Montreal stop on his national tour to draw attention to climate change.

The popular scientist and broadcaster said he interviewed Bouchard on the radio in 1989 and was impressed by his prescient thinking on the environment. Suzuki said Bouchard told him "the human species was threatened, and if we didn't do anything, we'd be in trouble one day."

If Canada had heeded scientists' recommendations to reduce greenhouse gases by 20 per cent over 15 years, the country would have already met its Kyoto targets, Suzuki said.

Bouchard left the Conservative Party after the Meech Lake Accord failed in 1989. He helped found the Bloc Québécois, which became the Official Opposition in the 1993 election.

Bouchard served as Opposition leader until 1996, when he took over the PQ reins, eventually becoming premier after the closely contested referendum.