Montreal

Coalition wants environmental issues to be front and centre in upcoming Quebec election

Vire Au Vert has drafted 23 specific policies it wants all parties to adopt, including things like 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.

Group has drafted 23 specific policies it wants all parties to adopt ahead of Oct. 1 vote

The new coalition includes the David Suzuki Foundation, Équiterre, WWF, Vélo Quebec and more. (Matt D'Amours/CBC)

Environmental groups are hoping to leverage their collective support base to influence the outcome of the next provincial election.

The coalition, which calls itself Vire Au Vert, is made up of 11 groups including Equiterre, the David Suzuki Foundation and World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF).

Together, the groups have a membership base of 250,000, a fact the coalition hopes will be enough to sway political parties to include ambitious environmental policies in their platforms leading up to October's election.

"If enough candidates are saying, 'Look, I'm getting a lot of heat here from these environmental groups, and from these citizens — we need to have more promises in our platform,' I think that's how we're going to get the work done," said Sidney Ribaux, Equiterre's executive director.

The coalition's demands are broken down into six major themes: climate change, transport, development, agriculture, biodiversity and forests.

It has drafted 23 specific policies it wants all parties to adopt, including things like 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.

Those policies have been sent to the parties. The group has yet to hear back, but have asked to have meetings with the leaders of the province's major parties to further discuss their propositions.

"The protection of the environment and our quality of life is a vital concern that [voters] will express in the ballot box," Karel Mayrand, executive director for Quebec and the Atlantic David Suzuki Foundation, said in a statement.

With files from Matt D'Amours