1707989967 New conflict between Quebec and Ottawa over tree planting

New conflict between Quebec and Ottawa… over tree planting

The Legault government wants to be able to cut down the trees to be planted in Quebec under the “2 billion trees” program dear to Justin Trudeau, but Ottawa refuses.

• Also read: 2 billion trees by 2030 promised by Ottawa: Only 2.3% of trees will be planted after two years

“There is a broad consensus within the sector, the forestry communities and the industries that revolve around the forest that the federal program should be more flexible,” says Natural Resources and Forests Minister Maïté Blanchette. Vézina, in an interview with the QMI agency.

She has also just sent a letter to Federal Energy and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, co-signed by 81 stakeholders, mainly from the forestry sector and 67 municipalities, to champion her cause.

Currently, Ottawa refuses to provide funding to the provinces under this program without guaranteeing that the trees planted will never be used by the forestry industry.


However, these conditions deprive forest communities of “significant economic potential”, especially after the major fires that devastated Quebec's forest last year, the minister argues.

New conflict between Quebec and Ottawa... over tree planting

Photo provided by Office of the Minister of Natural Resources and Forests

Ms. Blanchette Vézina therefore calls on her federal colleague “to review the provision that stipulates that planted trees may not be harvested and converted into building materials in the long term” and that reforested trees “be added to the forestry opportunities of the regions most affected by forests” . Fires,” namely Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Nord-du-Québec, Mauricie, Côte-Nord and Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.

In November, the chief forester recommended a significant reduction in deforestation in Quebec, precisely because of the forest fires. For its part, the Forest Industry Council (CIFQ) estimates the impact of the fires at $13.5 billion.

State jurisdiction

The CEO of the CIFQ, Jean-François Samray, also supports the Legault government's approach. “It costs extra money,” he summed it up succinctly in an interview.

“There is federal money that is already available to the provinces,” he adds. Ottawa cannot ignore the extraordinary situation and interfere in the province’s jurisdiction!”

During the preparatory phase of the program, the Legault government signed a $49.8 million reforestation agreement, half of which was covered by the federal government. To date, Quebec's efforts account for 40% of the trees planted in the country under this program.