Ottawa moves forward on threat to use federal powers to help Quebec caribou | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Ottawa moves forward on threat to use federal powers to help Quebec caribou

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault speaks with reporters on Parliament Hill, Tuesday, June 18, 2024 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Original Publication Date June 19, 2024 - 1:16 PM

MONTREAL - Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault says he's moving forward on his threat to invoke federal powers to protect Quebec's declining woodland caribou herds.

Guilbeault said Wednesday that he's starting the process to obtain a federal decree to protect the herds in Val-d'Or, Charlevoix and Pipmuacan, after what he describes as Quebec's failure to develop a plan to save them.

The federal minister said his government will hold consultations to determine the size of the potential protected habitat as well as the scope of the decree.

He told The Canadian Press that industrial activity such as logging will be limited in the protected zones and that Ottawa hasn't ruled out stepping in to protect two other herds in eastern Quebec.

Quebec's woodland caribou population has declined as a result of habitat destruction, industrial activity and increased predation, with a provincial commission estimating in 2022 that there were about 5,200 of the animals left in the province.

Guilbeault said Quebec can still act in the coming weeks and months by releasing its own caribou protection plan, which has been promised and delayed for years.

Wednesday morning, before the federal announcement, Quebec Environment Minister Benoit Charette said it was "irresponsible" for Ottawa to threaten Quebec with a decree without assessing the impact on communities that rely on the forestry industry.

Charette said “several thousand jobs" could be threatened by the federal initiative to protect the caribou.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 19, 2024.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2024
The Canadian Press

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