Quebec's leading parties score lowest on environmental report card

The Coalition Avenir Québec and the Liberals had the lowest scores in an evaluation of the political parties’ environmental policies, conducted by a coalition of environmental groups, including Équiterre and the David Suzuki Foundation.

Environmental coalition finds CAQ, Liberals fall short on green issues

The environmental coalition put forward a wish list of policies, including a promise not to authorize any new fossil fuel infrastructure and penalties for people who buy gas-guzzling vehicles. (Radio-Canada)

The Coalition Avenir Québec may be leading in opinion polls, but it isn't leading on the environment, according to a new evaluation conducted by a coalition of environmental groups.

The Vire Au Vert coalition, which is made up of 11 groups including Équiterre, the David Suzuki Foundation and World Wildlife Fund Canada, sent a questionnaire to Quebec's four main political parties to gage their positions on a range of environmental issues.

Their questions were broken down into six major themes: climate change, transport, development, agriculture, biodiversity and forests.

The CAQ had the lowest score in the evaluation, the results of which were released on Tuesday, followed closely by the Couillard Liberals. 

The Parti Québécois had the second-best score, behind only Québec Solidaire, which has made the environment a priority in the election.

A 23-point wish list

Earlier this year, the coalition put forward a wish list of 23 specific policies. It included a promise not to authorize any new fossil fuel infrastructure, penalties for people who buy gas-guzzling vehicles and a 50 per cent cut in the use of pesticides in Quebec agriculture.

"The environment is a cross-cutting issue that affects public health, the well-being of our communities and the economy," the coalition said in a statement Tuesday.

In its responses to the questionnaire, François Legault's party refuses to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and ban the construction of new oil and gas infrastructure — key demands from the coalition.

The same goes for the Liberals. The Couillard government has, however, tightened the rules around shale gas fracking and drilling.

The CAQ is the only party that does not have a specific plan for organic farming and refuses to commit to achieving a protection rate of at least 10 per cent of marine areas and 17 per cent of lands in the province.

The party said it would protect biodiversity, however, by "responsibly managing our natural resources and the economic activities that depend on them."

The political parties were also invited to add additional promises related to the environment. Only Québec Solidaire​ did so, saying it would introduce new protections for fresh water and a commitment to better manage waste disposal.

With files from Radio-Canada's Julie Marceau