July 3, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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Caribou Defense: Ottawa condemns Quebec’s “stubbornness”

Caribou Defense: Ottawa condemns Quebec's "stubbornness"

It has been more than two months since the Federal Holder of the Environment and Climate Change sent a letter informing the Legal government. His intention was to intervene To protect forests and mountain Caribou herds on Quebec soil.

With no agreement with Quebec on important signals or endangered species protection, its latest version expires on March 31, and Ottawa is still preparing a decree on the iconic deer’s critical habitat.

The mechanism provided for in the Species at Risk Act in Canada allows the federal government to control approximately 32,000 square kilometers of territory and operations there for up to 5 years.

If he had hoped to find a deal through conversation a few weeks ago, Steven Gilbelt would have admitted to the lack of progress at the table today. The officers and I were very disappointedHe said in an interview with Radio-Canada this week.

Minister Steven Gilbelt condemns Quebec’s stubbornness in the Woodland Caribou file.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

The Sonia label has not changed anything

Despite the involvement of Minister Sonia Label, who is in charge of Canadian relations, the final meeting between the two levels of government representatives on June 8 did not yield the expected results and did not set a new date for further talks.

What we understand of the Quebec government strategy is that it earns time to try to find a solution after the election. But Caribou did not voteMinister Gilbelt has been accused of failing to show regional party goodwill in recent months.

He gave the province until April 20 to provide specific information, which has not yet been done for the convenience of the federal government.

We hope for the basics. We request that Quebec provide us with comments and related information on the Caribou defense. You will not send anyone to the moon. To date, however, we have not received any response from the Quebec government on this.

A quote from Steven Gilbelt, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

At the office of the Minister Label, we claimed that two weeks ago we submitted the Caribou Defense Action Plan for 2022-2023, but we refused to disclose its contents in Public Square. The ball is in federal courtThe Minister Press Secretary replied.

Steven Gilbelt is not of the same opinion. They did not offer a defense plan beyond what Quebec was already offering, He explained. And this is definitely due to Quebec Do not do enough He recalled that there was a need to intervene today.

We can change the color and display it in a different way, but, fundamentally, if we do not change the nature and scope of the protection of the Caribou habitat, which is the starting point for the deal, it will not be serious.

Woodland caribou and mountain caribou, different ecosystems, are both protected by the Species at Risk Act in Canada. The protection of its critical habitats is a must.

Photo: Getty Images / Stan Tequila Author / Naturalist


The minister was even more disappointed that he was having trouble understanding Stubbornness Quebec in file. After announcing its colors months ago about the danger of interfering in Quebec, he believed, Behave knowingly.

According to him, there is a consensus on the steps to be taken to help the Caribou herds. First Nations, unions, experts and environmental groups all need to do more, He insisted. Reducing logging and conserving large patches of mature forest are high on the list.

I find it difficult to understand the stubbornness of the Quebec government in refusing to listen to science on this issue.

A quote from Steven Gilbelt, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

In Quebec, we want to allow first Independent Caribou Commission Do its work and provide its recommendations. The development of the new Caribou Habitat Protection Strategy is not expected before 2023.

Earlier this spring, Premier Franకోois Legalt Woodland emphasized that Caribou’s management was under regional jurisdiction and that Ottawa should not succumb to pressure.

Minister Sonia Label inherited the Caribou file, which was previously headed by Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks Pierre Dufour.

Photo: Canadian Press / Jacques Boise Note

So Steven Gilbelt stays on course and has to submit a decree somewhere by the end of summer or early fall.

A letter was also to be sent to the Sonia label this week to remind her of this intention. What we are saying to the Quebec government is that we are moving forward as planned. […] None of the conversations that lead us to modify this strategy.

Ottawa is still unable to say when the regulation will take effect. The regulatory text must first be approved by the Cabinet. This is the first time a complex habitat has been used in Canada since the introduction of the Species at Risk Act in 2002.

Not without locals

The federal government is also working in parallel to find other ways to protect the Woodland Caribou herds. According to a source close to the matter in Ottawa, the deal with Quebec is now in the works Moderate or chronic.

In the short term, Ottawa is leaning towards indigenous countries To move the conversation forward. Meetings have already taken place with several associations to reach an agreement on the Caribou defense, even without Quebec.

More than 70% of Woodland Caribou settlements are dispersed in several key areas in the Southern Province.

Photo: Courtesy: Jean-Simon Bégin

In this regard, Minister Steven Gilbelt sees this as a situation that cannot be discussed. We have conditioned aboriginal participation in the new agreement between Quebec and the federal government, the Quebec government has so far refusedCommented. There is no question that there was a deal and that the aboriginal people were not at the table.

If necessary, the minister added, will be Two different deals. Either way, he promises, The federal government has an agreement with the aboriginal people in Quebec.

Legal remedies

In the last year, Communities particularly threatened to prosecute If the regional government and even the federal government do not enforce their laws to protect the species. The Huron-Vendat Nation condemned the lack of cooperation from the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks. (New window) About Charlevoix caribou.

Only 5,252 forests and mountain caribou remain in Quebec, distributed among a dozen herds. Previous estimates from the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks put the total population at between 6,500 and 8,000 people.

On the brink of extinction, two Quebec herds are currently living in captivity, the Charlevoix and the Wall-d’Or. The Gaspésie mountain Caribou herd is also in great distress with about 30 animals. Caribou’s population is declining in other forests in Quebec, including Pipmukon.

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