Across Quebec, real estate developers are destroying wetlands at an incredible rate. In 21 years of development, 19% of the wetlands in the St. Lawrence Lowlands have been destroyed, mostly with the approval of the Quebec government.
Last month, I visited a wetland located in the city of Longueuil where lives a species of small frogs that is threatened with extinction due to real estate projects. According to the local environmental group Ciel et terre, drainage canals were dug this fall by a private company that wants to drain the area in order to develop it, and this without government authorization.
Despite the fact that the work was done illegally, the fine imposed is approximately $3200 plus a municipal order to restore both. In my opinion, draining a wetland inhabited by an endangered species is a serious environmental crime that requires serious penalties. I have therefore written a letter to Environment Minister Benoit Charrette dated today demanding an investigation into the desiccation of a wetland in Longueuil and the establishment of an environmental police force that could act more quickly on this type of file and enforce laws and regulations.
A few kilometers from the site, one of the best places to observe birds is at the back of an “industrial” park called the “technopark” of the borough of Saint-Laurent. Despite calls from many environmental groups and the Green Party, the City of Montreal, as well as the governments of Quebec and Canada refuse to protect this biodiversity hub in the heart of the island of Montreal. Having visited it many times in support of its protection, I can confirm that it is a unique place on the island of Montreal. The struggle continues!
In the logic of the Legault government, wetlands are simply an obstacle to real estate development. The current practice is to simply send a bill to companies that destroy wetlands. An article in Le Devoir reveals that the government has obtained $47 million for the destruction of wetlands in recent years.
In my opinion, the $47 million represents little revenue in exchange for the widespread destruction of wetlands for the benefit of powerful and highly lucrative real estate interests.
If this situation were not already troubling, Radio Canada’s show La Semaine Verte has just revealed that the CAQ’s Minister of the Environment is seeking to relax the law on wetlands in order to allow more development!
At the Green Party of Quebec, we will continue to fight for the protection of the environment and wetlands throughout Quebec. We are convinced that if Quebecers were better informed about the environmental sacrifices we are making, they would be on the streets to take matters into their own hands.
Join us in protecting the environment, biodiversity and wetlands by educating the public, lobbying the government and demonstrating for a greener, planet-friendly future!