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 the opposition claims for the new regulation on nickel in the air.

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

• Read also: Nickel standard: increase “sends a signal” to companies, admits Minister Charette

• Read also: Nickel in the air: Quebec City will not be exempt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

However, the Royal Minister for the Environment, Benoit Charette, admitted a few weeks ago that the increase in the nickel standard has “repercussions” 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.

According to the Parti Québécois, the government contradicts itself when it extols the virtues of the tramway’s social acceptability, but turns a blind eye to the environmental and health concerns of citizens in the nickel dossier.

“It is quite 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 the Lower Town, the Limoilou sector, when, obviously, there is no social acceptability for that,” said Sylvain Gaudreault, a member of PQ.

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

-With the collaboration of Geneviève Lajoie

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