Nickel in the air: Fitzgibbon defends himself from controlling the Environment

The head of the Quebec economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, assures that he does not control the Ministry of the Environment as claimed by the oppositions because of the new standard on nickel in the air.

• Read also: It’s confirmed: there will be more nickel in the air in Quebec

“It is wrong to say that I am Minister of the Environment, but it is true to say that I work very well with the Ministry of the Environment,” said Pierre Fitzgibbon Wednesday morning at the National Assembly.

Yesterday, the Government of Quebec confirmed that it was going ahead with its regulation which allows it to quintuple the quantities of nickel particles in the air daily on its territory.

Because of the new nickel air standard, the Liberals claimed that Pierre Fitzgibbon was the real Minister of the Environment.

“Every decision that is made, whether for water royalties, whether for nickel in the air, each time, these are decisions that are made for lobbies, Fitzgibbon’s buddies”, hammered the liberal Isabelle Melançon.

Against GHGs

Mr. Fitzgibbon actually considers that there are many projects to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) that are economical. “So much the better if economic projects can contribute to the fight against climate change,” he said.

For the nickel standard, the Minister of the Economy admits that he is not a public health expert, but “there are people who said it was safe. »

The parliamentary leader of Québec solidaire believes, however, that increasing the nickel standard will pave the way for massive investments by the chemical industry, which will pollute Québec.

“The Legault government will increase the standard of nickel in the air, in other words, will allow multinational companies to pollute the air that Quebeckers breathe to please the multinationals”, railed Gabriel Nadeau Dubois.

This is an argument that does not hold water, pleaded Mr. Fitzgibbon.

” Not really. No more than what already existed with the transport of ore from Raglan to the port of Quebec”, he indicated.

However, the real Minister of the Environment Benoit Charette admitted a few weeks ago that the increase in the nickel standard has “impacts” on the arrival of the giant BAFS in Bécancour.

“It is quite certain that there are impacts [avec] this standard, we send a signal, ”he said.

Social acceptability

According to the Parti Québécois, the government is contradicting itself when it extols the virtues of social acceptability for the tramway, but turns a blind eye to the environmental and health concerns of citizens in the nickel file.

“It is rather surprising, or even contradictory, to note that he authorized an increase in nickel particles in the air, on the sly, for the Quebec region, in particular for Lower Town, the Limoilou sector, when, obviously, there is no social acceptability for that,” mentioned PQ member Sylvain Gaudreault.

Many scientists, citizens of Limoilou and elsewhere in Quebec oppose this standard. Ditto for the mayor of Quebec, Bruno Marchand, and the majority of the city council in Quebec who heard the explanations of government experts. Regional Public Health also opposed it, as did the other regional entities. Only the Direction nationale de la santé publique du Québec maintained that the standard was safe.

-With the collaboration of Geneviève Lajoie

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