PRESS RELEASE: Greenpeace denounces Minister Blanchette’s failure on caribou with life-size coffin

Press release - March 16, 2018
16th March 2018 (Parliament, Quebec City) - Early this morning, Greenpeace activists arrived at Quebec’s legislature with a life-size “caribou coffin” to send a clear message to the Minister of Forests, Fauna and Parks, Luc Blanchette, about his continued failure to protect caribou across the province. This comes after public outrage last week following his decision not to save the Val-d'Or caribou herd from a likely extinction in the region.

16th March 2018 (Parliament, Quebec City) - Early this morning, Greenpeace activists arrived at Quebec’s legislature with a life-size “caribou coffin” to send a clear message to the Minister of Forests, Fauna and Parks, Luc Blanchette, about his continued failure to protect caribou across the province. This comes after public outrage last week following his decision not to save the Val-d'Or caribou herd from a likely extinction in the region.

“The situation in Val-d'Or is a national scandal and a nail in the coffin for caribou. We must stop this abandonment strategy from being rolled out to other caribou herds across Quebec,” said Olivier Kolmel, Forest campaigner at Greenpeace Canada. “We’ve known for 15 years that habitat destruction is the main cause of caribou decline, yet we’re blindly continuing industrial activity. It’s like driving off a cliff and then hitting the breaks hoping it will stop,” he added.

A large coffin with caribou antlers and a black banner that reads “no real action, no caribou” are being presented in front of the legislature this morning. The seven activists, resembling mourners at a funeral, are sending a powerful message to Minister Blanchette demanding that he takes concrete and immediate steps to ensure the caribou’s long-term survival in Quebec.

“We are urging the Minister to stop ignoring the caribou crisis and listen to scientific experts and Indigenous knowledge holders before it’s too late. Quebec had 5 years to deliver a recovery strategy for caribou, yet failed to do so. We need better leadership, real solutions and concrete action on the ground. And we need it now,” adds O. Kolmel.

Last October, Quebec failed to meet a key deadline for protecting threatened boreal caribou habitat. Provinces had five years to develop habitat protection plans under Canada’s Species At Risk Act. Better protecting this iconic species would help Canada meet its international commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity to protect 17 percent of its lands and inland waters by 2020. Taking these steps in equal partnership with Indigenous Peoples also offers an important opportunity to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Greenpeace has launched an #SOSCaribou petition calling on provinces to address the caribou crisis in our Boreal forest. The petition has already collected over 23,000 signatures from people across Canada.

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For more information:

Photos from today’s action will be available at: http://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJXU9B4X

Announcement from the Minister of Forests, Fauna and Parks on the Val-d'Or caribou herds: https://www.facebook.com/lucblanchette.plq/videos/1883046598436776/ (In French only)

Marie Moucarry, Communications officer, , 439-993-6127