Environmentalists pleased with Legault's change in ministers
Published Wednesday, January 9, 2019 5:35PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 9, 2019 7:04PM EST
Some environmentalists are reacting positively to the Quebec premier's decision to replace his environment minister after only a few months on the job – but others say there may be political consequences down the road.
“It was becoming clear that she no longer had the confidence of the premier's office,” said environmentalist Steven Guilbeault. “People felt she wasn't able to deliver what she was being asked to deliver.”
“I think it's a good thing that the premier took this decision quickly -- better sooner than later,” said Equiterre President Sidney Ribaux.
Political neophyte MarieChantal chasse is an engineer and businesswoman but found herself unable to answer journalists' questions on numerous occasions.
Premier Francois Legault hastily called a news conference Tuesday to announce he's replacing her as environment minister with Deux Montagnes MNA Benoit Charette.
“It was tougher for MarieChantal regarding the communication aspect of her job, and it was important to make the change because I don't think it would have been better in the next few months,” said Legault.
Guilbeault, a consultant who founded Equiterre with Ribaux and others, said the CAQ came to the environment issue late in the campaign, and now they're playing catch-up.
“I think the nomination of Mr. Charette is a good one. I know him, I've worked with. He piloted their transport plan,” he said. “He did his homework, and when the plan came out, it was largely accepted.”
Guilbeault hopes Charette now moves quickly on the ideas for a tramway, new bus lanes and electric train extensions.
“In Quebec, if you're talking climate change, you're talking transportation,” he said.
“The fact that he understands that sector is a good thing. The fact that he has over ten years of experience in politics I think will help him navigate the role of minister of the environment,” he said.
But while the new minister gets the green light from green groups, political analyst Tom Mulcair said there might be a political price to pay.
“Premier Legault is setting himself up a little bit here, because if he doesn't behave with exactly the same kind of determination the next time something happens with his ministers - let’s say on an ethical file - people will remind him how quick he was to get rid of a woman who he thought was underperforming in terms of communication,” he said.
The National Assembly returns on Feb. 5