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CPAWS welcomes Quebec premier’s confirmation of intent to protect at least half of northern Boreal

Montreal - CPAWS (SNAP) Quebec welcomes Premier Jean Charest commitment, in today's Inaugural speech to the National Assembly, to balancing development and conservation in the sustainable development of the province.  SNAP Quebec sits on the Partner's Advisory Group for Quebec's Plan Nord, representing environmental protection interests.  With this renewed commitment by the Premier, SNAP Quebec will be closely monitoring the environmental protection elements of the Plan Nord, which is expected to be released soon.

50% commitment to watch

The Premier reiterated his commitment to set aside 50% of Quebec's northern area (all territory above the 49th parallel) from all industrial development activities in order to safeguard biodiversity, which is a key objective of the Plan Nord and essential to protecting Quebec's environment.
"Having participated in the discussions of the Advisory Group, we believe that three conditions need to be met to ensure that the areas set aside from industrial development  achieve the goals of protecting the environment, and even become a model for the rest of the world to follow: that we proactively  identify the areas to be set aside on the basis of their ecological and cultural importance; that industrial activities are truly excluded from these lands; and that the protection of these areas is completed within the timeframe of the plan, that is before 2035, "said Patrick Nadeau, co-executive director of SNAP Quebec. "And this work must, of course, be done in conjunction with affected First Nations and Inuit communities. "

Quebec expected to grow?

While SNAP Quebec applauds the vision to conserve this land through a sustainable approach to development, we hope this new vision is reflected in all the government's initiatives for the north, including in the new sustainable forest management strategy and future mining legislation. "These initiatives will have a major impact on the area targeted by the Plan Nord, but there are currently major gaps in their environmental plans," said Nadeau. It will be crucial for the protection of Quebec's natural heritage that the government integrate these initiatives with the vision of the Plan Nord.

"The opportunity to protect 50% of the territory and sustainably develop the rest, if coordinated with other on-going initiatives, could position Quebec as a leader," says Nadeau. It we seize this chance, we will support our collective social, environmental and economic well-being for years to come and help Quebec to grow sustainably."

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