The surcharge that QS wants to impose on polluting cars risks turning Quebecers against the government like the yellow vests in France, believes the Minister of the Environment Benoit Charette.
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Mr. Charette took advantage of his presence at a debate on the environment in Montreal to attack Québec solidaire, which wants to impose a 15% surcharge (a penalty) on the purchase of polluting vehicles such as vans and SUVs.
“The great, great danger is to create an aversion to mobilization. We must mobilize the population and not turn it against us, said the caquist. […] I am referring, for example, to France with the yellow vests. »
The protest movement of the yellow vests in France was born in the fall of 2018 in reaction to a new tax on fuels to reduce GHGs.
“I was giving an example that happened not so long ago on the European side, I’m not saying that’s what will happen,” he said a few minutes later during a press scrum.
Not a majority
“We are not attacking the majority [des véhicules vendus], replied Alejandra Zaga Mendez, candidate for Quebec solidaire in Verdun on the sidelines of the debate. It is not a tax at the pump. It is a measure that […] is a counter-incentive for cars that are ultra-polluting.”
As the solidarity pointed out, many exceptions would be provided: for large families (more than two children), for work vehicles or even for people in the region under certain conditions.
Mr. Charette thus criticized the measure for applying to a majority of vehicles while criticizing in the same breath its symbolic nature.
“It becomes a symbol from the moment you eliminate all these categories, there are very few vehicles left,” he believes.
Two other parties also participated in the debate, namely Jeanne Robin, candidate for the PQ in Taschereau and Virginie Dufour for the PLQ in Mille-Îles.
If the question of penalties gave rise to the most heated exchanges, the guests remained very disciplined and agreed on virtuous positions. For example, on the topic of residual materials, everyone agreed that we had to do better.
“My God, what harmony! All that’s missing is the Conservative Party in the end,” reacted moderator Josée Boileau at the end of the first block of exchanges in this debate inspired by TVA’s face-to-face model.
Only the conservative party was effectively absent. As the moderator pointed out, the party simply did not respond to the invitation.
“The prospective candidates had already made other commitments, explained to the Journal Véronique Gagnon to the communications of the PCQ before adding: regardless of the subject, our candidates agree to represent the PCQ in various debates. There is therefore no other reason to be found than that mentioned above. »
Few attacks on the 3rd link
Although Mr. Charette has been the target of some criticism, the CAQ’s record has not been particularly abused. The 3rd link between Quebec and Lévis, a controversial project from an environmental point of view, was barely mentioned.
As PQ candidate Jeanne Robin explained to journalists, the debate focused on the green economy and the candidates remained very stuck on the themes, namely: residual materials, eco-taxation, renewable energies, contaminated soils, labor shortages and adaptation to climate change.
“It was not the environmental debate that made it possible to ask François Legault to justify himself on the choices that his government did not make during the last mandate, explained Ms. Robin. This debate unfortunately will not take place since Mr. Legault refused to participate in a debate on environments.
Recall that Prime Minister François Legault has been criticized in recent weeks for refusing to participate in a debate solely on the climate crisis. The latter defended himself by explaining that the subject is addressed in the two national debates.
Monday’s debate took place in the science pavilion of UQAM and was organized by the Environment Network, the Council of Environmental Technology Companies of Quebec as well as the Quebec Association for the Production of Renewable Energy.