Woodland caribou | Steven Guilbeault will recommend a decree

Ottawa is preparing a decree to protect woodland caribou in Quebec.

Posted at 11:21 a.m.

Eric-Pierre Champagne

Eric-Pierre Champagne
The Press

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault, announced Thursday that he intended to submit a proposal for a decree to the federal cabinet to protect woodland caribou in Quebec. “Even if the door is still open [pour des discussions avec le gouvernement du Québec], I will not stop the procedures for a decree as long as there are no concrete proposals from Quebec on the table. »

Minister Guilbeault took part in a press conference on Thursday morning where he announced a new federal program for the creation of ecological corridors with a budget of $60 million.

Asked about Premier François Legault’s claims that caribou are under provincial jurisdiction, Steven Guilbeault replied that “this assertion is obviously erroneous”. He recalled that the environment is a jurisdiction shared between the federal and provincial governments, in particular the Species at Risk Act, which has been confirmed by the courts, he added.

As for woodland caribou, the Minister specified that the Government of Quebec is forcing his hand to act quickly. “I have to proceed. In the near future, I will introduce an order to protect the caribou. »

On Wednesday, the Premier of Quebec said that his government wants to find the right balance between the approximately 5,000 forest-dwelling caribou still alive and the forestry industry, which could suffer from the addition of protected areas.

Mr. Guilbeault points out that he is well aware that there must be a balance between economic issues and caribou protection. “I completely agree with Mr. Legault, it takes a balance. But right now there’s no balance, we’re not in balance [pour le caribou] and all scientists and experts agree on this. »

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