‘It is not impossible’ for Ottawa to block third link; Fate of the greenhouse gas project

With all due respect to the Legault government, the federal environmental study could affect the fate of the Quebec-South Shore third link project if it harms Canada’s ability to meet its international commitments to reduce carbon emissions. Greenhouse gases (GHG).

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Environment and Climate Change Minister Stephen Gilbolt at COP26 in Glasgow on November 12.

Archive photos, AFP

Environment and Climate Change Minister Stephen Gilbolt at COP26 in Glasgow on November 12.

Canada’s Environment Minister, Stephen Gilbeau, recently announced that the federal government wants to conduct its own environmental assessment of the controversial Quebec-Levis Tunnel.

Clearly, the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada is awaiting notice of the CAQ’s Third Highway Connection Project to determine if a federal study should actually be conducted.

If so, it will study in particular the effects of the projects on migratory birds, as well as on fish, aquatic species and their habitats, and areas of federal jurisdiction.

But its mandate does not end there. As part of a recent overhaul of the Environmental Assessment process, the agency is now also measuring the consequences of the project on the country’s level of greenhouse gas emissions and the achievement of Canada’s climate change goals.

“In the impact assessment report, it is required to demonstrate to what extent the impacts of a particular project are detrimental to or contribute to the ability of the Government of Canada to meet its climate change commitments,” the project owner specifies. Agency Jan Riddle Basegura.

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So the project should neither slow down the Paris Agreement’s goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for 2030, nor achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Blocking is possible

Before leaving to attend COP26, Quebec’s environment minister, Benoit Charette, warned that no study would be able to prevent the construction of the tunnel under the river, not even the tunnel led by the federal government.

“It is a duplication of money, a duplication of time that is not productive in circumstances, and the federal government cannot, after all, prevent the creation of infrastructure of this kind,” he said.

Not so fast, answers Professor of Environmental Law at Laval University, Jerrod de Lassus Saint-Geni.

He states in an interview: “I am inclined to believe that it is not impossible for the federal government to be able to prevent this project.” I’m not sure at this point that we can say the federal government is not qualified to do its environmental assessment and wouldn’t have the ability to prevent the project from happening either.”

According to De Lassus Saint-Genies, the Quebec government will have to wait to see if the tunnel project does not harm the international commitments Canada has made before declaring victory.

“The issue of climate change has become important and I think it will be a central element of this assessment, and what impact it will have, not only the construction of the project, but also the number of vehicles (…) (which will) as well as what it will bring in greenhouse gas emissions”, Professor insists.

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tons of concrete

Greenpeace’s Patrick Bonin recalls that Canada’s greenhouse gas reduction targets should be revised upwards within a few months after the all-new Glasgow Agreement.

“I don’t see how this third link project could fit into the goals of the Paris Agreement and Canada’s 2030 goals (…) (and even less) with a more ambitious target that respects science, (where) no significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions can be allowed.”

The environmental expert adds that the federal agency will also examine the pollution from the construction of a branch link to the river, that is, before cars, trucks and buses spread there. Patrick Bonin asserts that manufacturing the “astronomical amounts of concrete” that would be needed to create the “world’s largest tunnel” nine kilometers long would inevitably generate a lot of greenhouse gases.

Thousands of vehicles every day

Expected ride

  • Simulations so far obtained by 3NS The link allows us to believe in the daily traffic of 50,000 to 55,000 vehicles.


  • Tunnel construction is evaluated between 6 and 7 billion dollars, which is the amount to which the contingency reserve and the borrowing costs they represent are added 10 to me 35% Invoices.


  • Tunnel start date has been set 2031, but François Legault wants to speed up its construction.
  • Preparatory work will begin near Levis, in 2022.


  • The tunnel will be 8.3 km.
  • hit him that will 19.4 pm In diameter, it will include two levels, one in each direction, with three lanes each, one of which is for public transportation.

access point

  • The entrance to the tunnel is on the Levis side in the Monsignor Bourget sector, Near the campus of the Desjardins Group.
  • The tunnel will lead In the ExpoCité / Fleur-de-Lys . sector.
  • Two subway stations will give access to the tram thanks to the elevator, On Parliament Hill And In the garden of Jean-Paul Lallier.
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