Fitzgibbon is concerned about the message sent by the judicialization of the Northvolt case

The Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy of Quebec, Pierre Fitzgibbon, is concerned about the message that the judicialization of the Northvolt case sends to foreign investors. But his federal counterpart, François-Philippe Champagne, sees things differently.

During an interview with radio host Paul Arcand on Monday morning, Minister Fitzgibbon indicated that he was “absolutely” worried by the “outpouring of hostility” towards the vehicle battery factory project. electricity in Montérégie.

” Be careful. My fear is that we are affecting the credibility of Quebec” and “let’s say that people, clearly, are questioning themselves” and “they are wondering “are we welcome in Quebec? “”.

The minister specified that he had to “be careful” when answering the questions from the 98.5 host, recalling that there is an “injunction which will be heard tomorrow”.

Northvolt temporarily stopped construction work on its factory on Friday while the Superior Court rules on a request for an injunction.

The Quebec Environmental Law Center and three citizens demanded that the work be stopped. They argue that the multinational’s land is a “habitat for many threatened or vulnerable animal species” and they ask that the project be submitted to the Bureau d’audiences publique sur l’environnement (BAPE).

A judge will hear the arguments of the different parties Tuesday morning in Montreal. Until then, work is paused on Northvolt’s land in McMasterville and Saint-Basile-le-Grand.

Champagne has a different perspective

The federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry does not read the same thing as his provincial counterpart.

According to François-Philippe Champagne, who spoke to the media on Monday morning, the legalization of the Northvolt case does not dampen the interest of foreign investors.

“I would even tell you the opposite, I have more and more calls from people who want to come and settle with us”, because “we have the workforce and strong ecosystems”, indicated the minister Champagne.

Northvolt “knows what it is getting into” and “they are big boys”, added the minister.

Still commenting on the opposition movement to the project, François-Philippe Champagne added that “in a society like ours, people can express their opinion”, but he asks citizens to “look at the final objective” which is to “transform Quebec industry towards a greener industry, which will be environmentally conscious and which will enter the 21st century economy”.

“You can’t get more environmentally conscious than Swedes, we chose them. This is what people at home need to understand. We did not take just anyone, we chose a Swedish company which is concerned about the environment, which is also concerned about working with communities,” argued Minister Champagne.

“No need” to do a BAPE

Part of the Northvolt battery cell factory megaproject, that which concerns recycling activities, will have to be evaluated by the Bureau d’audiences publique sur l’environnement (BAPE).

Several environmental groups and citizens, however, are demanding that the entire project be subject to a BAPE.

Questioned on this subject by Paul Arcand on Monday morning, Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon indicated “that there was no need” to carry out a BAPE because “the rules do not require it”.

He added that the project must, however, “comply with environmental standards” imposed by the Ministry of the Environment.

A regulation was modified last February by Quebec to allow the Northvolt project to escape an examination by the BAPE, according to information first relayed by Radio-Canada.

The production capacity of the factory would be 56,000 metric tons, while the Regulation relating to the evaluation and examination of the environmental impacts of certain projects have been modified so as to avoid a BAPE evaluation at the factories. of batteries that produce 60,000 metric tons or less.

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