Elections Quebec 2022: striving to reduce GHGs is useless, says Éric Duhaime in an editorial interview

The only party leader to have no plan to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs), Éric Duhaime is counting on possible « new technologies » to achieve this and affirms that those who set themselves targets do so mainly « to look good « .

“I have confidence in new technologies,” declared the Conservative leader in an editorial interview with the To have to Tuesday afternoon. He was the first of the leaders of the five major Quebec parties to lend himself to the exercise within the framework of the electoral campaign.

» We [le] sees with the fleet, » he says. “Our balance sheet is improving”, because “today’s cars are much less polluting”. “When we manage to remove a kitty traffic and adding a new car, there is already a positive impact. »

To note

The Conservative leader does not make climatosceptic remarks. His party “recognizes” in its platform “the effects of human activity on the global climate”. But he is opposed to Quebec setting GHG reduction targets to slow global warming.

The other four parties have all made commitments in this regard. The Coalition avenir Québec advocates a drop of 37.5%; the Liberal Party of Quebec, between 40 and 45%; Québec solidaire, 55%, with 1990 as the reference year. The Parti Québécois, for its part, is in favor of a drop of 45% compared to 2010.

However, for Éric Duhaime, the effort is simply not worth it. “If Quebec emitted 50% of the GHGs [de la planète], we could say that we are going to make a big difference. But here, what we are realizing is that we are ready to relocate our pollution just to look good when we are at a fraction of 1%. »

Quebec “relocates” its pollution, he claims, because it only attacks the GHGs emitted on its territory. Mr. Duhaime said in particular that he felt betrayed as a voter by the rejection of the LNG Quebec project in Saguenay by the Legault government. He argues that Quebec would have a greater impact on reducing global GHG emissions if it exploits its natural gas and exports it to countries that use even more polluting energy sources such as coal. Especially in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

When it is pointed out to him that a project like GNL Québec risks taking years to come to fruition and that the geopolitical context will then have changed, he replies that countries like Germany will never again wish to obtain supplies from countries unstable. The former radio host also argues that the growth in demand for gas is good “for another 50, 60 years” and that Quebec natural gas is of high quality.

“We will worsen the environmental balance sheet [mondial] to save face because the rest of us want to hit our targets,” he said.

On the pandemic, the criticisms of the conservatives against the Legault government are well known. But how would they have acted if they had been in power in the midst of a crisis? Éric Duhaime replies that he would have « taken into consideration » the « perverse effects » of the measures « on the young generation » and « businesses ».

The Conservative leader says he would have “informed” the population and then let people decide which health measures they wanted to apply. Except maybe during the first few months. “The first wave was different. We were all faced with the unknown and we were all afraid. […] We can understand that there are decisions that were taken that were very draconian. But that they were maintained after that, wave after wave after wave, me, it is there that I unhooked. »

He argues that he would still have sought to « protect the most vulnerable ». But how ? “We had to isolate them”, he says, “better inform them”, rather than “confine the whole population”.

And vaccination in all this? Éric Duhaime repeats that he would not have encouraged people to get vaccinated. It is a matter which is settled, he says, “between the individual and his doctor”. “I respect the individual freedom of people. From the outset, he refuses to say whether the vaccination had any beneficial effects or not. “I don’t think it’s up to a politician to say whether people should get vaccinated or not. »

In health, he defends tooth and nail the opening to the private sector in hospitals. Two-tier medicine already exists anyway, he argues. Past reforms have all failed, in his opinion, « because we did not want to attack a sacred cow » by calling into question the public nature of the system. Éric Duhaime is convinced: “When there is competition, there is upward emulation”.

Public monopolies, argues the libertarian politician, are “by definition inefficient” because they lack “the incentive to do everything cheaply”.

The PCQ also defends itself from advocating a reform that will only have benefits in the major centres. Its leader, however, remains vague on this subject: “Each place is unique. […] There are places where, in fact, the private sector will be less interested in going and at that time, the current public system will remain. »

An alliance of conservatives

In an interview with Radio-Canada on Sunday, Éric Duhaime had added his voice to those who are urging the Legault government to make public the studies it holds on the third link project.

However, what would happen if these studies cast doubt on the very relevance of the project, whether it be a tunnel (like that of the CAQ) or a bridge (like the one he is proposing)? “It’s not just about the relevance of the link. There are also studies on geography, on the place. »

The Conservative leader is also scathing about criticism from outside the greater Quebec City region. The people of Quebec did not have a « voice in the chapter for the Samuel-De Champlain bridge », he says, before adding that Montrealers do not « meddle in their own business ».

Finally, on the constitutional front, the former Bloc member and close to Stockwell Day is sticking to asking Ottawa for new immigration powers.

When it is pointed out to him that all the other governments have broken their teeth there, he evokes the promise of an alliance with an eventual Conservative government led by Pierre Poilievre, aspiring leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. “The difference with Mr. Legault is that I am a conservative who has [des] links with these people […] I think I am capable of recreating that alliance. »

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