Legault may not be a climate skeptic, but he’s climate inactive, Liberals charge | Montreal Gazette
QUEBEC — All governments have a share of the blame for the lack of action on climate change, says the interim Liberal opposition leader.
One day after ecologist Greta Thunberg denounced world leaders at the United Nations for inaction, Pierre Arcand said nobody is above the fray in this debate.
“Every government has a part of the blame for what has been happening,” Arcand told reporters Tuesday. “I would say Quebec governments, over the years, have been doing more about fighting climate change, more than anybody else.
“We can always be better, we can always do more but when we compare what we have done in Quebec, compared to other governments, I think that at least we are far ahead of many other governments.”
He noted, however, that the Americans probably have a greater blame to shoulder.
Arcand again criticized Premier François Legault, saying he has been “quite inactive” when it comes to climate policies and it shows with Legault’s decision to not attend Climate Week in New York, where Thunberg spoke Monday.
Legault’s decision was a break of tradition on the part of Quebec premiers.
“I think Mr. Legault should have been there,” Arcand said. “Mr. Legault needs to demonstrate he’s interested in environmental issues, which are very important.
“It was a duty of premiers to go in the past. It’s clear Mr. Legault missed a good chance. Mr. Legault is maybe not a climate skeptic but he is climate inactive.
“He doesn’t seem to be interested in this. He does not seem to care that much. He has been giving breaks to many polluters in the last few months.”
Speaking to reporters in Montreal, Legault called Arcand’s remarks “ridiculous.”
“Of course it doesn’t make sense to say things like that. It’s clear that scientists are right. We’re all scared of what’s coming next with the climate and we have to fight against climate change. You see a government that will take action: invest more than ever in public transportation and have a plan to reduce emissions, like promised by 2030. Unfortunately, those who were here before me didn’t meet their targets for 2020. I think what is important is action. I don’t see what I would have been able to change being in New York. It think it’s important to be here and take action, and of course, we believe in climate change.”
Arcand’s comments come a few days after the outspoken spokesperson for the Pacte pour la transition, Dominic Champagne, ripped into Legault, accusing his government of behaving like “climate skeptics.”
Champagne’s views were dramatically different in May when he said he believed Legault was on board to make the environment a priority.
Arcand defended the Liberal record on the environment noting that the energy policy he launched when he was minister in 2015 including no new dam construction and a 40 per cent reduction in fuel consumption.
The plan also included more money for recycling.
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