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Water Today Title August 8, 2020

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Update 2018/9/17


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by Cori Marshall

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Québec solidaire (QS) is the fourth party in the National Assembly, the province's legislative assembly. At the time the election was called on August 23, 2018, QS held three seats. QS is on the left of Québec's political spectrum. The party's ideology revolves around democratic socialism, social democracy, alter-globalization, environmentalism, feminism, pluralism, and the independence of Québec. Unlike most major parties, except the Parti Québécois (PQ), QS sports two spokespersons, Manon Massé and Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.

WaterToday had the chance to exchange with André Frappier, Elected Communications Officer at the National Coordinating Committee for QS, on issues that matter to our readers such as water security, wastewater infrastructure, the environment and climate change, and renewable energy.

    "Safeguarding our environment is first and foremost the safeguarding of water, lakes, rivers, and our marine areas."

    André Frappier, Elected Communications Officer at the National Coordinating Committee, Québec Solidaire.

On the topic of water security, Frappier said that it "is of fundamental importance," for QS. The party is polling fourth amongst Québec voters, and according to Quebec125.com is projected to receive around 11.9% of the popular vote. Should the party come to power on October 1, they "will adopt a policy of access to waterways for the entire population."

Frappier said that "the use of residential water metres would be banned and be made mandatory for institutions, businesses and institutions under the water use royalty system."

The water use royalty, or Règlement sur la redevance exigible pour utilisation de l'eau, was adopted in 2010 and is "aimed at any industry that pumps or uses 75 m3 or more of water per day, directly from the source or a water distribution system." The royalty is set at $0.0025/m3 for most activities that would require the use of this resource.

Activities outside of this very minimal rate are water bottling, drink production, production of non-metallic mineral products, agricultural chemical products, other inorganic chemical products and the extraction of oil and gas. For these activities, the royalty is set at $0.07/m3.

We asked what could and should be done in regards to the health of and protection of our waterways. Frappier responded, "to recognize the fundamental right to water and sanitation, [QS] will update the Politique nationale de l'eau, and will require the rigorous assessment of the risks associated with activities that could harm the quality of drinking water."

    "We will ban the transport of nuclear waste, we will establish a plan to reduce water consumption."

    André Frappier, Elected Communications Officer at the National Coordinating Committee, Québec Solidaire.

On where to improve on how municipalities deal with wastewater, Frappier underlined that Québec Solidaire would legislate commercial water use, strengthen sewage treatment programs and extend them to all municipalities." there would also be a tighter "control of industrial discharges."

QS is critical of past governments in the areas if environmental protection and fight against climate change. "Previous governments have always sacrificed the environment for oil projects of all kinds," Frappier said.

Frappier said there was a long list of precedents to draw from that ranged from fracking on Île-Anticosti, which included "the purchase of the contract signed by the PQ [Parti Québécois] government that cost $20 million," to allowing oil drilling near homes.

On this point, Frappier highlighted "the refusal of the Liberal government to intervene to defend municipalities struggling with lawsuits brought by multinationals." There was the lawsuit brought by Gastem Inc. against Restigouche Sud-Est and the $96 million suit against Grenville-sur-la-Rouge brought by Canada Carbon. Frappier said that QS views this inaction as "capitulation to financial interests."

The social democratic party does have a plan to improve Québec's environmental efforts, and it is centred on their Economic Transition. Frappier explained that QS believes that the province "can no longer be content to put bandages on the wounds, we must completely review our mode of operation." This would begin by questioning the practice that allows large financial interests "that determine the main political and economic decisions with harmful effects on the environment."

    "We must focus on decentralization, regional economy, mobility based on public transport and electrification of that transport that will help us out of oil dependence."

    André Frappier, Elected Communications Officer at the National Coordinating Committee, Québec Solidaire.

One way the party hopes to achieve this is through the removal of gas-powered vehicles from the roads, only hybrid or electric will be authorized for sale as of 2030 in hopes of removing all internal combustion engines from Québec roads by 2050.

Québec Solidaire believes that renewable energy "is the way of the future for our planet," Frappier said. Aside from removing gas-powered vehicles from the roads, QS will electrify "highways and railways". He added that they "want to take advantage of wind, solar and geothermal energy."

    "In order to reduce the environmental impact of freight transport, we will financially support the conversion of fleets to alternative fuels, to reach 10% electric trucks and 15% renewable natural gas by 2030."

    André Frappier, Elected Communications Officer at the National Coordinating Committee, Québec Solidaire.

QS' co-spokesperson, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois was quoted as saying "to enable Québec to get out of fossil fuels, the manufacturing sector must reduce its dependence on fuel oil and coal." This is why the party has put significant focus on a subject known to WaterToday readers, biomass. Frappier explained that QS "plans to develop a national biomass policy to exploit forest and agricultural residues better."

To get these initiatives moving it comes down to dollars and cents. The plan itself would be funded primarily by the Fonds vert, and the Plan global d'efficacité énergétique.

Frappier explained that "QS would like to invest $30 million a year to encourage the conversion of manufacturing companies to biomass." He added an additional "$120 million a year from the Fond vert will support the biofuel industry," this will include the biorefineries themselves and linking the facilities to collections centres.

The foray into the biomass industry "should reduce oil consumption in the manufacturing sector, increasing the share of biofuels from 1% to 8% in total energy consumption," Frappier said.


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