Québec, August 9, 2016 – At the invitation of the organizers of the 56th annual meeting of the Eastern Regional Conference (ERC) of the Council of State Governments, the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, David Heurtel, addressed an audience of over 300 legislators, government representatives, experts and academics from ERC member U.S. states and Canadian provinces to present the actions Québec is taking in its transition to a green economy.
“Québec’s experience confirms that the fight against climate change goes hand in hand with the economy. In fact, our century’s environmental challenges can become real opportunities for building a green, prosperous and sustainable economy. In the coming years, as a result of the innovative policies that our government has implemented, we will see the emergence of a growing number of business opportunities for entrepreneurs and workers in the green technology industry,” noted Minister Heurtel.
Fight against climate change and economic development
Speaking during a roundtable at the event (considered to be the largest gathering of heads of government from eastern North American U.S. states and Canadian provinces), Minister Heurtel placed particular emphasis on the transportation electrification niche, a priority area for the Government of Québec due to the major assets at its disposal for developing this industry. In this regard, Minister Heurtel maintained that Bill 104 constituted a public policy that would boost Québec’s economic development. The bill was tabled on June 2 and aims to create a mandate promoting the zero emission vehicle (ZEV) offer. Following the bill’s adoption, Québec would become the first Canadian province to establish such a ZEV mandate. The minister also indicated that he would travel to Michigan at the invitation of the U.S. automaker General Motors (GM) to visit the Global Battery Systems Lab on the campus of GM’s Technical Center in Warren. “Québec has several assets for moving the electric vehicle industry forward. I will therefore take the opportunity provided by the visit to highlight once again our strengths in this promising sector,” added the minister.
Strong public policies
According to Minister Heurtel, Québec has adopted the tools needed to fight climate change and reduce its dependence on fossil energy, while increasing the competitiveness of its businesses and creating green, sustainable jobs. The 2013-2020 Climate Change Action Plan, 2030 Energy Policy, 2015-2020 Transportation Electrification Action Plan and 2015-2020 Government Sustainable Development Strategy articulate the government’s vision of a Québec economy that is increasingly innovative and low-carbon. As part of the 2013-2020 Climate Change Action Plan, over 3.3 billion dollars will have been invested by 2020 to foster innovation in such sectors as renewable energy, public transportation, transportation electrification and green technology. These investments will help Québec achieve its ambitious objectives.
The minister also mentioned the importance for Canadian provinces and North American states to collaborate in the fight against climate change. In passing, he underscored Québec’s active participation in mobilizing Canadian provinces and building consensus among them by organizing the Québec Summit on Climate Change in April 2015. The event brought together the premiers of Canada’s provinces and territories for the first time to discuss concerted action regarding climate change. “The event literally laid the groundwork for the pan-Canadian process that is currently being developed. Through Québec’s leadership, the fight against climate change has become a front-page issue in Canada,” said Mr. Heurtel.
Québec will continue to be a national and international leader by participating in a series of events leading up to the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Marrakesh, Morocco. The minister will chair the next meeting of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, taking place in Montréal this coming October. He will also be a speaker at the 2nd Climate Summit of the Americas, running from August 31 to September 1 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.
“The fight against climate change is an opportunity to develop a new, prosperous and low-carbon economy. Together, we can fight climate change to ensure an optimal quality of life for our children and future generations. Let’s do it for them!” concluded Minister Heurtel.
About the ERC
The Eastern Regional Conference of the Council of State Governments brings together lawmakers from 11 northeastern U.S. states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont), Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Ontario, Québec and the Canadian maritime provinces. The conference’s mission is to promote interparliamentary and intergovernmental collaboration by addressing common problems, sharing information and creating joint programs. The Québec National Assembly became the ERC’s first affiliated international member and has been participating in its activities since 1990 to discuss economic, social and political issues.
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