A new era of darkness looms over Québec and is permeating our land. Doctrinaire groupthink is back with a vengeance and taking over our democracy, foisting upon us a worldview that is eroding our hopes and aspirations. We defy it. We reject it.
With each passing day, science is muzzled a little bit more. Reason and logic are being overrun by the dogma of money and markets and the demands wrought by economic growth at all costs. The voice of the citizenry is all too often drowned out by the propaganda of powerful lobby groups that see fit to appropriate common property for themselves.
Infinite growth is unsustainable in a biosphere whose resources are finite and dwindling. Those who suggest otherwise are purveyors of wishful thinking. Scientific awareness beckons us to awaken from this fiction; it calls for a massive ecological retooling of our economy.
The red flags are unfurling at a rapid clip. The very survival of our species is at stake. Wildlife populations on our planet have diminished by half over the past 40 years. Our oceans are increasingly acidic. Greenhouse gas concentrations have reached near-irreversible levels. The science is unequivocal: to avoid an irreversible disruption of Earth's climate, the bulk of known fossil fuel reserves must be left buried. Under such circumstances, for Québec to now undertake to become another oil producer is outright immoral.
For what world is this where the generation of wealth is predicated on the eradication of life? We are the last generations in a position to prevent irreparable harm. We refuse to be complicit in the relentless ravaging of our future. Yet our inaction has become symptomatic of our moral failure.
None of this is done nor will be done in our name.
Faced with this urgency, we raise our voices in protest. We declare ourselves objectors on moral grounds. We cease to put our trust in governments that allow the plunder of common property for the profit of a wealthy few.
It is our duty to resist the methodical invasion of our land by oil companies and powerful investors. Québec's evolution as a modern society is based on core values that include clean energy and the redistribution of wealth. This is at the heart of who we are as Quebecers. This is what we aspire to be. We demand that this identity be respected.
On either side of the Saint Lawrence, let us be the ones to show the way: let us take action.
We demand an end to hydrocarbon prospecting and extraction on Québec territory;
We reject the transport of oil across our territory for the purposes of export, whether by train, pipeline or tanker;
We demand that the Government of Québec adopt a credible plan for halving our oil consumption by the year 2030 and for reaching carbon neutrality by 2050;
We demand that the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec disinvest from the fossil fuel sector. We ask the managers of other funds who have public investment to do the same. And we shall act in like fashion as individual investors. Our retirement funds must not serve to impoverish our children, but to ensure their future.
We are blessed to live in a province that is rich in renewable energy sources. Some of these have already been harnessed, resulting in the flooding of the taiga, the displacement of Aboriginal peoples, the rerouting of rivers, and the drowning of spruce trees, lichens and caribou populations. It is incumbent upon us to stop squandering these resources. Rather, our energy strategy must serve as a model for an ecological paradigm shift that others will emulate.
We hereby commit to lowering our consumption, improving our production, and contributing to the development of an economy that embraces social equity and the betterment of mankind while safeguarding the environment.
The tools for ecologizing and humanizing the economy are at our disposal; we have the means to begin the transformation. Let us therefore mobilize our resources and talents for the preservation of the planet and the empowerment of its human inhabitants. Together, let us build a different model, one that leads to a brighter future.
The ranks of those clamouring for change are swelling. Let us remain united in this pursuit, beyond any borders that would divide us. Let us participate in this democratic awakening, be a part of this fresh, creative impetus that seeks to defend our common property and uphold the public good, and which, through multiple means, bravely struggles to ensure a better future for our world.
We cannot be reduced to mere columns of numbers. We represent the future. Our commitment and mobilization carry hope for a prosperity that is measured in so much more than dollars.
Solutions are there to be found. We have the technological and human capabilities to undertake a vast project for development that is truly sustainable, viable, fair and equitable. It is our duty to lead this new global movement that will shape the 21st century.
Québec has on a number of occasions proven itself capable of successfully steering sweeping transformations, and done so with boldness, rigour and ingenuity. Our revolutions may be quiet, but they are nonetheless genuine, and they can inspire the entire world.
May those who are ready to embark upon this adventure join us: from Chisasibi to Port-Menier, from Salluit to Montreal, by way of Québec City, Chicoutimi, Gaspé, Ristigouche, Cacouna, Trois-Rivières and Sorel. In each city and each village, let us move forward with heads held high. Like the people in Gilles Vigneault's song, let us "roll forward like a powder keg" and "advance like a breakaway ice floe." Together, let us sow the seeds of hope.
Let us cast out the encroaching darkness, along this river which is at our core and across the entire province. Let us be beacons for one another, driven by our love for our children, our country and our planet.
Let us surge in thousands to begin the battle for the respect of science, of life, and of democracy.
The river's water flows through our veins. Let us not allow greed to threaten the lives of belugas, nor our own.
Let us honour the memory of our brothers and sisters lost to the Lac-Mégantic catastrophe.
Let us support the First Nations and Inuit populations in their struggles to protect their territories.
Let us protect our children, our grandchildren, and those who will follow after them.
On this day, we proclaim our right to live in an environment that is healthy and safe.
We shall intervene by all means of peaceful resistance at our disposal.
Ours is not a battle on behalf of Nature. We are Nature.
We are Nature now reclaiming its rights.
Nothing shall impede our movement.
This manifesto is cosigned, among others, by: Camil Bouchard; Dominic Champagne; Jérôme Dupras pour Les Cowboys Fringants; Karel Mayrand; Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois; Éric Pineault ; Annie Roy; Laure Waridel; Manon Barbeau; Christian Bégin; Claude Béland; Emmanuel Bilodeau ; Serge Bouchard; Jean-Pierre Charbonneau; Léa Clermont-Dion; Édith Cochrane ; Louis-Jean Cormier; Pierre Curzi; Danielle Dansereau; Alain Deneault; Yvon Deschamps; Richard Desjardins; Diane Dufresne; Catherine Gauthier; Renaud Gignac; Louis-José Houde; Marie Laberge; Micheline Lanctôt; Jean Lemire; Robert Lepage; Lucie Pagé; Mylène Paquette; Fred Pellerin; Lorraine Pintal; Lucie Sauvé; Richard Séguin; Daniel Thibault; Gilles Vigneault.