Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Quebec's Northern Plan -- Plan Nord au Québec

Happy New Year to all readers! Let's hope 2010, the Year of the Tiger, will seize opportunities and stronger leadership in the environment.

The Quebec government, under the leadership of Jean Charest, is moving ahead with the ambitious Plan Nord. The objective is to open northern Quebec to exploration and tap into the wealth of abundant natural resources. The four focus areas are:
  • clean energy and renewable energy
  • mining sector
  • sustainable development, and
  • forestry sector
Quebec's First Nations have already expressed concern calling the Plan Nord the Plan Mort (Dead Plan). The business opportunities, including the need to conduct environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and relations with First Nations/ communities, represent important opportunities for both the public and private sector as regards sustainable development.

The province of Quebec is moving rapidly ahead in order to position and differentiate itself from the other provinces as “leader of the pack” as regards the environment. There are a number of reasons why the province has taken this position, including plans to exploit its northern territory for mining and increasing hydro-electricity production, and therefore it wants to ensure support from both citizens and industry. The government is also encouraging industry to develop its own SDIs and sustainability reporting in general in order to be well-positioned to demonstrate its’ “greener” environmental footprint --especially from a life-cycle perspective.

All views appreciated, advice also available.

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