Our belugas are endangered.
Let’s take action to protect them!
1 - Time is running out. Thanks to the efforts of environmental groups and citizens, including Nature Québec, TransCanada has been forced to suspend its drilling of the Cacouna Beluga nursery in the St. Lawrence until now. TransCanada expects to push forward, with the support of the Premier, and resume their work as soon as possible and with an almost certain new round during next spring. The Cacouna site is still seriously threatened, which is a fundamental issue since it is the only known place where Beluga mothers give birth to their young, and where the newborns prepare for their first winter migration.
2 - A seriously threatened species. Today there are now fewer than 900 belugas in the St. Lawrence estuary, whereas the population was once over 10,000 less than 75 years ago. The Quebec government recognizes that this is an endangered species! Despite this, there is no indication that they would oppose the proposed TransCanada oil terminal and the ambitions of the federal government. Suspension of work has been ordered by a court ruling. The threat remains high.
"There is only one guarantee – pipelines leak. It is just a question of when, where, and how much will spill." Jacques Anctil, President of the Fondation québécoise de la protection du patrimoine naturel in Le Devoir.
3 - The worst is yet to come. Drilling is just the first step, but the construction of a transshipment terminal for oil will follow. This construction could be the death knell for Belugas as it will jeopardize their key site for breeding and rearing young; a site that is believed to have been used by them for thousands of years.
4 - A project that will damage Quebec. TransCanada seeks only to export its own tar sands oil from western Canada. The pipeline will stretch for 700 kilometers, and will have to cross the St. Lawrence to reach the new oil terminal in Cacouna. The risks of oil spills and environmental catastrophes are high. This project will bring nothing to the sustainable development of Quebec.
5 - The Quebec government is complicit. From the very beginning, in closing one's eyes first, then by issuing an authorization certificate for drilling in the beluga nursery, Quebec is an accomplice of the federal government and has completely muzzled scientists working to protect Beluga whales in the St. Lawrence for decades. The entire scientific community is in shock.
6 - The Premier must intervene. It is urgent that all Quebecers who care about their natural heritage mobilize and urge that the Premier Philippe Couillard intervene on behalf of the belugas. The creation of export routes for the Alberta oil industry must not be made at the expense of protecting our majestic St. Lawrence River and all the beings that depend on it, the belugas, as well as humans.
7 - We MUST act to protect our whales. take a stand and ask Premier Philippe Couillard to put a definitive end to the work of TransCanada in Cacouna. This is our last chance to save the Belugas!
8 - An open and transparent debate is required. Drilling in the beluga nursing grounds is only the first phase of a much larger project with major environmental repercussions for Quebec. Vital issues were never discussed publicly: Do we want to build a new 700-kilometre pipeline through Quebec just to ship and export crude tar sand bitumen from western Canada? What impact will this project have on climate change? On our natural environment? On the majestic St. Lawrence? What will happen if there are spills? For our part, Nature Québec estimates that Quebec has nothing to gain and everything to loose, minimal benefits and extreme environmental risk. Quebecers must be able to decide the fate of this project. This major project involves the future of our children, while the debate on its usefulness has never taken place. However, the provincial government will allow this fundamental debate only if we oppose the Cacouna project and unite our voices as one!