Citizens protest in Gaspé, Québec, in 2021 during Utica Resources' court case against the Québec government for the right to drill. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Pascal Bergeron

EnvironmentSociety Canada7. May 2022

Fossil Fuel Exploration Ends Here, in a World First

The Canadian province of Quebec becomes the world’s first jurisdiction to ban oil and gas development on its territory, a decision most welcomed by environmental organizations and citizen groups whose implication played a major role in the adoption of the societal engagement.

“Citizens rallied, regrouped, and actually won this fight because it was in their backyards,” says Émile Boisseau-Bouvier, Équiterre’s climate policy analyst. “We decided, collectively, that we don’t want to tap into our oil and gas potential, we want to actually move forward and develop greater economies in a way that is more linked to what science tells us and what we should do to limit the worst impacts of climate change in our life.”

In 2021, Quebec joined the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, a group rallying countries, provinces, and states determined to end new fossil fuel exploration, and is the first member to adopt a law – Bill 21 – banning altogether oil and gas exploration and production. For more than two decades, citizens fought against the polluting business, and it’s thanks to their long-standing resistance to invasive projects that such a bill could be passed. “We can change things if we work hard enough,” says Carole Dupuis, longtime citizen activist and spokesperson for Mouvement écocitoyen UNEplanète.

National Observer

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