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March 23, 2018

Another vision by François Legault that has all the appearance of an ad lib


By Pierre Moreau

MNA for Châteauguay
Minister of Energy and Natural Resources
Minister responsible for the Plan Nord
Minister responsible for the Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine region

During a speech before an audience of businesspeople at the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations, François Legault, Leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec, wanted to make an impression and present himself as a statesman. He announced his intention of initiating a discussion with our neighbours in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces to the end of forming an energy alliance. He did this, not knowing that one already exists.

Before launching into another improvisation, Mr. Legault should have informed himself. He would have learned that Hydro-Québec has already had arrangements with our Canadian and American neighbours for several years now.

In 2009, we installed a new high-capacity power line with Ontario, considerably increasing our sales capacity. In May 2015, we concluded an agreement for the sharing of a significant block of power. In October 2016, a contract for two terawatt hours to help Ontario reduce its GHG emissions was signed and ratified by the two provinces. Consequently, when the Pickering nuclear power plant is closed in 2024, we will be ready to offer Ontarians clean energy at a competitive price without needing to build new infrastructure. Until then, Ontario already has a significant energy surplus.

We sell more electricity per capita to New Brunswick than to Ontario and we are actively discussing with the government of Newfoundland in the aim of developing more harmonious relationships in the energy sector.

As for the United States market, it represents 76% of sales outside of Quebec. We have been establishing partnerships with the state of New York and the New England states for some time now. Furthermore, at the beginning of 2017, Hydro-Québec won the Massachusetts call for proposals for the purchase of a significant amount of clean energy, representing around $10 billion of revenue for Quebecers over a period of 20 years. This represents the most significant contract in the history of our crown corporation.

The actions undertaken by our government under the leadership of Premier Philippe Couillard perfectly demonstrate our will to increase our electricity exports and the resulting revenue, enabling us to move towards a new Quebec. Last year, sales outside of our borders generated a net profit of $780 million for Hydro-Québec. 17% of our foreign sales make up 27% of our profits.

Quebec has tremendous potential in the field of energy, which is intrinsic to its long-term prosperity. We can count on our expertise, our technical capacity and our knowledgeable and skilled labour force. To tap into the full potential of our resources, we must have a vision for Quebec.

Unfortunately, the Leader of the CAQ is severely lacking in this.

Prioritizing the collective interest and public good goes far beyond the prevailing populism and short-term political gain. His prevarication on the potential demolition of the Quebec Bridge, the firing of civil servants who don’t share his beliefs, his blunder during a discussion with the Premier of Ontario and his inability to support the major businesses of Quebec and their workers when they are truly in need clearly demonstrate that he is not ready to govern. After nearly 20 years as an MNA and 6 years as the leader of his party, I doubt that he ever will be.

 

Pierre Moreau
MNA for Châteauguay
Minister of Energy and Natural Resources
Minister responsible for the Plan Nord
Minister responsible for the Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine region