Above watch: Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard congratulated Rachel Notley, encouraging the new premier of Alberta to be “a significant player in the fight against climate change.” Caroline Plante has more.
QUEBEC CITY — The election of an NDP government in Alberta has sent shockwaves throughout the country. In Quebec, there is high hope the new Albertan government will do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“What we heard last night from the Premier-designate shows signs for us to be optimistic,” said Quebec’s Environment Minister David Heurtel.
The election of a new NDP government in Alberta is seen as great news. It’s believed Rachel Notley will be an ally in the fight against climate change.
“Because Alberta is a significant player in the oil production world, it should also be a significant player in the fight against climate change for that specific reason,” said Premier Philippe Couillard.
“I will have very interesting discussions with Mrs. Notley about this, but first and foremost today I want to congratulate her on her victory.”
That victory had everyone talking at Quebec’s National Assembly.
Québec Solidaire was jubilant; the party’s stance agrees with everything Notley has been promising: more taxes for big business and the wealthy, and a higher minimum wage, less provincial support for pipelines and a review of Alberta’s energy royalties.
“It’s amazing!” QS MNA Amir Khadir exclaimed. “It gives the hope there is a place now to see Canada regaining its role as a leading nation in environment and climatic change.”
But Notley’s pledge to transform more bitumen in Alberta has the Coalition Avenir Quebec fearing for Quebec’s economy.
“Parties coming from the left, they are more protectionist, and I think right now, indirectly, they pay $9.5 billion of their money to Quebec every year in equalization payments,” said CAQ leader François Legault.
“Right now, I worry a lot about what the new government will think about still sending that money to Quebec.”
Still, the buzz word Wednesday was “hope.”
The Parti Québécois’ Jean-François Lisée said if Albertans can operate such a big shift, anything is possible.
“When we’re in the opposition, we think at some point people will find that what we have to offer is a good solution for the time,” he said.
“Never think that the game is over, the game is always going and the only constant is change.”
Opposition parties hope to ride that wave of enthusiasm until the by-elections on June 8, when Quebecers in the ridings of Jean-Talon and Chauveau will elect new MNAs.