Friends of the Richelieu. A river. A passion.

"Tout cedit pays est fort uny, remply de forests, vignes & noyers. Aucuns Chrestiens n'estoient encores parvenus jusques en cedit lieu, que nous, qui eusmes assez de peine à monter le riviere à la rame. " Samuel de Champlain

"All this region is very level and full of forests, vines and butternut trees. No Christian has ever visited this land and we had all the misery of the world trying to paddle the river upstream." Samuel de Champlain

Monday, May 28, 2018

A Judge Bans Civil Disobedience Training on State Land

Gaspésie - Learning to Disobey While Respecting the Law - A Judge Bans Training at the Opposition Camp at Junex

My translation of article of Alexandre Shields published in Le Devoir May 26 2018

The opponents of the Junex oil project in the Gaspésie peninsula do not have the right to give a training camp on civil disobedience on the public land they are now occupying. A Superior court judge has accepted the request for injuction presented by the Quebec Government, admitting that the government could be harmed seriously and irreperably if such a camp would come to be.

In a ruling Thursday evening, judge MIchel Beaupré has "banned anybody occupying illegally and without authorisation State land from having training camps about civil disobedience, or any other similar activity."

The judge thinks that having such a camp, that should have started Friday, could cause serious and irreperable prejudice for the Quebec government.

However, the court does not rule on the Couillard Governement`s request that demands that the opponents assembled around the group Environnement Vert-Plus, be kicked out of public land they are occupying for the past 9 months. This question will be debated during the debate on the basics of Quebec`s request, at an ulterior date not yet determined.

Also, Judge Beaupré adds that the right of the governement is "apparent" since the Energy and Natural Resources Minister Pierre Moreau has the right and powers of property over State land. But the opponents occupy this public property without the minister`s authorisation.

The court does not rule either on the question of the right of freedom of expression, the freedom of association and peaceful demonstration of citizens opposed to the oil industry`s installation in the Gaspésie. These questions will be debated later.

Reacting to the ruling, the spokesperson of Environnement Vert-Plus Pascal Bergeron, qualified the magistrate`s decision as a "gag rule". He says that the planned activities within the civil disobedience training are within freedom of expression , demonstration and peaceful association.

The opponents to oil exploitation intend to obey the injunction, the occupation of their camp is maintained, but the training planned on direct action against oil and gas installations will be held on sites near but not on state land.

The Quebec Government and Junex have not yet reacted to the ruling Friday. Junex has never answered the Thurdsay request for an interview with Le Devoir. The "River Camp" - "Camp de la Rivière", west of Gaspé, by route 198, has been built at the entrance of the access road to the Junex drilling sites for it`s Galt project. It is 3 km from the wells of the company.

The oil exploration project for which Junex has already asked for an exploration lease, could very well become the first oil extraction site in Quebec.

The exploration of this deposit that would need a maximum of 30 wells on 5 sites, could last more than 40 years, says Junex. But the project has not gone through the stage of environmental evaluation that could be done under the responsibility of a BAPE.

Coalition of Towns Plan to Sue Quebec to be able to Protect their Drinking Water from Fracking

Some municipalities are getting ready to go to court - Elected officials want to have their own laws to protect drinking water from the oil and gas industry

My translation of article written by Alexandre Shields published in Le Devoir on May 27 2018.

At least 166 municipalities have decided to make a common front and go to court to force the Couillard Government to give them the right to have stricter laws to protect drinking water from oil and gas drilling, learned Le Devoir. The Environment Minister Isabelle Mélançon is still refusing to give them this right, even if she can do so.

These 166 municipalities are part of some 338 municipalities, representing more than 4 million Quebecers, that have passed a law that would require a minimum distance of 2 km between a drinking water source and future drilling.

They all ask Minister Isabelle Mélançon to give them the right to go above and beyond the provincial law. This law, called Règlement sur le Prélèvement des eaux et leur Protection (RPEP), passed back in 2014, imposes a minimal distance of 500 meters between drinking water sources and oil and gas wells. A distance thought of as clearly insufficient by municipalities to insure against any contamination.

But even though a first formal request was presented in June 2017 but rejected by the ex-minister David Heurtel, then discussions and 2 meetings with Mme Mélançon`s team, the "pilot committee" that drives the municipalities`endeavour is still waiting for a positive response from the government.

Exasperated by the slowness of Quebec to answer their request, 166 municipalities have decided Friday to instruct their lawyer to file an application in court to obtain the requested exemption.

"The analysis that is the basis of our request is solid and credible. So we do not want to start all over again a new scientific analysis process that would put us back at least till the end of June, so after the National Assembly`s session`s closure, during the summer period and just before the electoral campaign" says the mayor of Ristigouche Sud-Est François Boulay, member of the pilot committee, Friday.

"The committee remains open to negociations. We are ready to welcome any reasonable proposition and work with the Minister. But the municipalities want an anwer and an adequate answer." added jurist Richard Langelier, in charge of scientific suppport to the municipalities.

If the Environment Minister refuses to agree to give an exception , the committee could then ask the court to evaluate the "reasonable character" of such a decision.

"Our question is as follows: can a municipality pass a law that is more strict than the provincial government`s in order to protect it`s drinking water?" says François Boulay. Passing such a law that puts a 2km distance between a source of drinking water and drilling made the gas company Gastem sue his municipality. But the court ruled in the municipalities favor, without ruling on the 2km part.

To avoid repeating this situation, that was a major risk for Ristigouche Sud-Est`s finances, the municipalities have decided to ask Quebec directly the right to vote on more strict laws than those of the RPEP.

"To give more weigth to the unprecedented legal prodedure that they now have decided to start, the municipalities will try to have more to join them. "We will quickly be more than 200 municipalities" predicts Richard Langelier. They have also received last week the unanymous support of the members of the Union des Municipalités du Québec.

Mr Langelier added that they did not mean to stop all of the oil and gas exploration projects that could develop in Quebec where more than thousands of square kilometers have exploration permits. As per Mr Langelier, the Gaspésie Bourque project belonging to Pieridae Energy, is more than 2km from the nearest drinking water source.

In the office of Isabelle Mélançon, they said Friday that they wanted to avoid going to court. Press spokesperson Julien Marcotte, repeated that the Minister will have an answer for the municipalities "in June", without giving an exact date. He says that Mme Mélançon never promised to answer the committee by May 25 like they say. He added that the MInister came into her function in October 2017 and had to familiarize herself with the dossier.

While the municipalities want to be able to prevent risks of contamination of their water by hydrocarbons, the Energy and Naturale Ressources Minister Pierre Moreau has still not published the law that would enact the hydrocarbons Law.

The bills published in September 2017 confirmed the intention of the Couillard giovernment to allow fracking. They also would allow drilling at 350 meters form residential areas and 275 meters from hospitals and schools. Minister Moreau promised to make corrections, but still has not published the laws.

Thursday, May 24, 2018


Yesterday, I was working in my woodpile in the backyard, stacking firewood while listening to the birds signing all around me. Suddenly, a loud "crack" on the left of me, then immediatly after, a metallic "bing" to the right: I recognized the sound of an air BB gun. So I looked up to my left, trying to see through the thick cedar hedge of my neighbor`s.

I could not see a thing until he moved. I could make him out between the branches, and he was carrying a black rifle. I then heard a "pffft". The cartridge sounded empty. That`s when he walked back to his house with it and went in by the basement door.

My heart was beating real fast. I don`t think he knew I was there. He`s a bit deaf for working in construction without any ear protection. If he had fired again, I would have cried out, making him aware that I knew what he was up to. I thought of calling the police, but I have already accused him of assault in the past and he had pleaded guilty and just got a letter from the prosecutor (I got a copy). So was it worth calling the police?

He already makes me uneasy, and now I will be event more watchful of him.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Pauvre Rivière Richelieu!

Je me demande ce qui pousse Marcel Comiré, directeur général de Covabar à dire "qu`il n`y a pas de péril dans la demeure" dans Le Journal de Chambly du 25 avril 2018, réagissant à l`article du Journal du 18 avril sur "un rapport alarmant sur la rivière Richelieu", rapport de Fondation Rivières mettant en lumière le piètre bilan des mauvaises performances des usines d’épuration qui déversent des égouts non-traités dans la rivière.

Pourquoi minimiser l`importance et la portée de ce rapport désolant sinon pour nous faire accepter la médiocrité? Faut-il en comprendre que se complaire dans la pollution est modus operandi chez Covabar, ou est-ce seulement l`opinion de son directeur général?

Je me rappelle que Marcel Comiré avait exprimé publiquement pas mal le même point de vue suite à la non-acceptabilité sociale exprimés par la majorité des citoyens de Richelieu suite à l`annonce de l`implantation d`une porcherie de 5,800 têtes sur gestion liquide en page une du Journal de Chambly le 6 septembre 2005. Les gens de Richelieu s`étaient énervés bien pour rien, ai-je compris de ses interventions sur le sujet.

Quels sont les effets de telles déclarations sur la perception qu`a la population vis-à-vis Covabar? L`organisme se dit un "comité de concertation" pour tous ceux qui se trouvent dans le bassin versant de la rivière Richelieu. Je me demande quelle sorte de gens sont les bienvenus à sa table.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Le Regard Des Autres

Dès que j`ai acheté ma maison en 1979, j`ai commencé à lui faire subir des changements, à commencer par la brique rouge dont je trouvais des morceaux dans la neige par grands froids et vents. D`ailleurs, la maison était un ancien camps d`été et la brique lui donnait un air de petite école que je détestais.

Et j`ai toujours aimé travailler dehors sur le terrain aussi. Mais un moment donné, surtout l`été, j`ai remarqué qu`un homme en auto ralentissait souvent devant chez moi pour mieux m`observer et parfois même il s`arrêtait sur le bord de la rue et regardait chez moi.

Je ne reconnaissais pas le bonhomme et bientôt sa présence m`irritait autant qu`elle m`effrayait. Alors j`ai décidé de le confronter, mais quand il me voyait venir vers lui, il repartait aussitôt.

Après des années de me faire épier de la sorte, un jour que je m`avançais vers lui, il ne s`est pas enfui. Le coeur battant bien fort, appréhendant la rencontre et voyant que sa fenêtre d`auto était baissée, je lui ai demandé ce qu`il me voulait. D`un air désapprobateur, fronçant les sourcils, il me dit: "C`est affreux ce que tu as fait avec cette maison-là!" puis démarra dans son auto.

Je ne savais pas plus qui il était. Il n`était pas le fils d`un ancien propriétaire précédent: celui-ci m`avait déjà visité et nous nous sommes bien entendus. Alors qui était-ce? Qui était cet homme qui empoisonnait mes étés, me rendant nerveuse et peureuse, moi sur mon terrain à moi? Devrais-je le rapporter à la police?

Bien des années plus tard, je repris contact avec un ancien ami d`enfance. On s`est retrouvés un moment donné aux funérailles de sa cousine, une de mes meilleures amies d`enfance. Et il était là! L`homme inconnu qui m`avait épié pendant des années était là, et mon ami d`enfance me dit que c`était son grand frère! Le grand frère ne m`a jamais adressé la parole cette journée-là, et moi je l`évitais comme la peste.

Après un certains temps, je me confiais à mon ami d`enfance retrouvé et expliquais le comportement bizarre de son grand frère pendant des années. Et au lieu de sympathiser avec moi pour tous ces moments d`effroi que j`ai dû subir, il s`attendrit en disant "Pauvre ti-gars! C`est bien lui, faire des affaires de même!" J`avais commis un crime de lèse-majesté en modifiant la maison où sa première épouse décédée avait grandi.

Alors selon certaines personnes, quand on achète une maison, avant de la modifier, il faudrait consulter tous ses propriétaires précédents et leur famille et leurs amis, pour être bien sûr de ne pas les choquer? Balivernes!