Earth Day is only days away, and this year it is more important than ever to not let it go by quietly. Across the country, Canadians are seeing environmental regulations disappear while projects with massive ecological footprints are being pushed forward by industry and our governments.
While we face dangerous climate change and the fragmentation of our last intact ecosystems, governments at both the federal and provincial level have moved squarely in support of projects with the potential for catastrophic damage to the environment, livelihoods and communities. It’s clear that, across Canada, the scales are being tipped in favour of rapid resource extraction with no consideration on the impact to our environment.
The same type of narrow minded thinking is taking place provincially in Quebec. A key project of the governing liberals, Le Plan Nord, is designed to “open” the North to economic development. Industry is receiving a helping hand in the shape of massive public investments, to the tune of 8.45 billion dollars, to build roads and other infrastructure designed to enable large scale projects while only 8% of Quebec's territory is protected. This comes along at a time when Quebecers are also fighting numerous fossil fuel projects, such as offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of the St-Lawrence and shale gas extraction in the St-Lawrence basin.
This new push for rapid resource extraction has not gone unnoticed. People are rapidly mobilizing to letthe government know that the only kind of development they will accept is one that must be both just and sustainable. A gold rush approach to resource extraction makes no sense environmentally and risks creating boom/bust scenarios that are simply not economically sustainable either.
In Montreal, Greenpeace and other groups are preparing for the largest turnout in Quebec’s history for the environmental movement. Close to 100,000 people are expected to come from all corners of the province to demand a real shift in how the government exploits our natural resources. In one voice, we will gather to support truly sustainable and just development that will both protect and provide for future generations.
This year, let’s not allow the 22nd of April to pass unmarked. Please, show your support by signing the April 22nd declaration, demanding development of Canada’s natural resources meets the highest standards of respect for the environment and communities, for now and for generations to come.