Équiterre accused of breaking election law in Quebec

Sidney Ribaux, executive director for Équiterre, and Graham Saul, executive director for Nature Canada

19 September 2018, Équiterre has accused Quebec's elections watchdog of trying to "muzzle environmental groups," and is defying the watchdog's demand to remove an election campaign survey from its website.

Équiterre received a notice Monday from the Directeur général des élections du Québec (DGEQ) demanding that it pull the questionnaire by midday Wednesday or face a fine up to $50,000.

The non-profit, Montreal-based environmental group said Wednesday it will contest the order in court if necessary. Ten other environmental groups who collaborated on the survey are supporting that decision.

Sidney Sidney Ribaux who is the cofounder of Équiterre and also member of the Strategy Group of Voices-Voix, mentioned that this is an "abusive interpretation of the law" and sees this as "a dangerous precedent” for future elections...If our groups are not able to express themselves during an electoral period, how then are citizens supposed to get the information, or make a [political] choice if the environment is one of their priorities?”

The environmental questionnaire in question was published last week. A collective of 11 environmental groups asked four political parties in Quebec for their positions on 23 environmental priorities, from pesticides to agriculture to biodiversity, and compiled the difference responses into one grid.

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