The government assistance programs do not take into account the environment

Les programmes d’aide gouvernementale ne tiennent pas compte de l’environnement

Photo: Andrew Vaughan, The canadian Press
The ministry of the Environment, led by Benoit Charette, is shown the finger.

The hundreds of financial assistance programs sponsored by the departments of the government of quebec does not take account of the environmental issues, deplores the sustainable development commissioner, Paul Lanoie.

However, all of these programs, which accounted for $ 7.6 billion of public funds in 2018-2019, could serve as valuable levers to promote the adoption of measures for the protection of the environment, he argued.

But this is not the case, one can read in his annual report 2020-2021, more than 200 pages, filed Wednesday in the national Assembly. The sustainable development commissioner under the Auditor general of Québec.

The ministry of the Environment, led by Benoit Charette, is pointed out. The gestures do not follow the rhetoric.

The government is committed to using economic instruments to ensure a transition to a green economy and responsible, but, in fact, the department of the Environment has not put in place “the necessary conditions” to take advantage of these instruments.

It accuses the ministry of not having “sent a clear signal” to all other government departments and agencies as to their responsibilities in this area. They are simply not encouraged to incorporate the terms pro-environmental in their financial assistance programs.

Results : out of 106 government departments and agencies with a plan of action for sustainable development, only five were expected to include conditions relating to the protection of the environment to award their financial aid.

What’s more, this laxity of public administration does not result in “no result” for the corrupt, ” notes Mr. Lanoie in his report.

In doing so, the government Legault is deprived of ” support of citizens and businesses to the practices of production and responsible consumption “, an essential condition in order to achieve its objectives in terms of sustainable development.

“The granting of the financial assistance is rarely linked to the respect of environmental conditions “, concludes the commissioner Lanoie.

Among the gaps identified, it deplores in particular the fact that Quebec has not developed the reflex of using the tax system to better protect the environment, while tax measures may prove to be ” beneficial “.

Compared to 36 countries of the OECD, Quebec is among those who derive the least revenue taxes linked to the environment.

The effectiveness of the few measures existing tax is not assessed over the years.

An example : the contribution of motorists to transit, is $ 30 per year, has not been revised since 1992.

The government has also set a target of reducing 40% of its consumption of petroleum products from 2013 to 2030. However, the current tax on fuel has not helped to curb the consumption of gasoline. On the contrary, during this period, it has increased by 24 %.

During this time, the sale of fuel-inefficient vehicles continues to increase. In Quebec, sales of large vehicles (mini-vans, sport utility vehicles, trucks) accounted for 62 % of the total sales of new vehicles in 2018.

The government sustainable development Strategy 2015-2020 was, however, an increased use of the écofiscalité, cross-compliance and environmental responsibility, in accordance with the Act on sustainable development.

It appears that this strategy ” lack of accuracy “, commented Mr. Lanoie, at a press conference. Nobody seems to be able to clearly indicate the various ministries in the “contribution” expected of them in terms of the protection of the environment.

Cross-compliance is to make government funding conditional on compliance with environmental requirements.

Eco-responsibility is to promote practices conducive to the protection of the environment.

Finally, the écofiscalité means of economic measures aimed at limiting the impact on the environment, such as the application of the polluter-payer principle.

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