Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sound of the Sea

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ice conditions Are Better for Sealing

With the harp seal hunt about a month away, officials with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) say ice conditions for the hunt in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are looking better than last year.
Ice conditions have improved significantly in the last two weeks, says Fisheries and Oceans biologist Mike Hammill.Ice conditions have improved significantly in the last two weeks, says Fisheries and Oceans biologist Mike Hammill. (CBC)
The seal need ice to give birth on. DFO biologist Mike Hammill said ice conditions were looking poor just a few weeks ago.
"I was down in the P.E.I. area about two weeks ago and the ice looked like it was very poor," said Hammill.
Since then, it looks like there has been some development of ice along the north side and around the Magdalen Islands. So it looks now like the ice may be all right. We would expect pupping to start probably early next week."
In poor ice conditions last year, sealers took only about 10 per cent of the some odd 400,000 animal quota. Market conditions were also poor and that contributed to the small harvest.
While ice conditions are improving, market conditions could be getting worse. Russia, which has recently been the market for about 90 per cent Canada's harp seal products, has closed the door to imports under pressure from animal rights groups.
There are hopes China could be a market for harp seal products, but no deal has been finalized.
Federal government officials will arrive on P.E.I. at the end of the week to determine where they will set up their base for the hunt.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Gas Tax Expected for the Iles de la Madeleine

The Québec Government Supports the Consolidation and Improvement of Shared Transportation in Gaspésie and the Îles-de-la-Madeleine

Gaspé, February 18, 2012  The Minister of Health and Social Services and Minister responsible for the Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine regions, Dr. Yves Bolduc, the MNA for Gaspé, Georges Mamelonet, and the MNA for Bonaventure, Damien Arsenault, today announced, on behalf of the Minister of Finance, Raymond Bachand, the implementation of a plan to improve regional shared transportation services initiated by the Réseau de transport collectif de la Gaspésie et des Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

In particular, the plan provides for improved service by adding routes in municipalities not served by the existing network, as well as increased frequency of service for certain existing routes.

To fund the improvement in these shared transportation services, elected officials of the regional county municipalities of Gaspésie and the Îles-de-la-Madeleine agglomeration have asked that a gasoline tax be applied in the Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine administrative region.

To respond to the request of these elected officials, the Minister of Finance, Raymond Bachand, today released an information bulletin confirming an increase of 1 cent per litre of the fuel tax applicable to gasoline in their administrative region effective July 1, 2012, to be allocated to fund the improvement in shared transportation services. This increase will generate some $1.5 million in additional revenue annually.

“The improvement in shared transportation services will help increase the mobility of citizens in the region, invigorate the occupation of the territory and foster everyone’s participation in social and economic life through better access to the labour market as well as to social, health and education services,” Minister Bolduc pointed out.

“Today, our government is responding to the elected officials of Gaspé and the Îles-de-la-Madeleine who consider shared transportation to be a driver of economic and social development. Thanks to this source of additional revenues, it will be possible to meet the needs of our population and efficiently coordinate the provision of transportation in our region,” the MNAs for Mamelonet and Arsenault said.
The MNA for Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Germain Chevarie, also expressed satisfaction with today’s announcement, which will also benefit the people of the Îles-de-la-Madeleine. “With today’s announcement, our government is showing just how much importance it places on the vitality of local and regional communities,” he added.

“Since 2010, the services offered by the Réseau de transport collectif de la Gaspésie et des Îles-de-la-Madeleine have shown the extent to which shared transportation is a major tool for economic and social development for all of Québec’s communities, including rural ones, and that is why our government supports this initiative,” Minister Bolduc concluded.

Information Bulletin 2012-2, released today, describes the application details of the tax increase. The document is available on the website of the Ministère des Finances at:

Source: Office of the Minister of Finance, Minister of Revenue
and Minister responsible for the Montréal region
Catherine Poulin
Communications Director
418 643-5270
514 873-5363
Information: Natacha Joncas Boudreau
Press Relations Officer
Office of the Minister of Health,
and Social Services
418 266-7171
Kent Moreau
Political Attaché
Office of the MNA for Gaspé
418 782-1670
Rachèle LeBlanc
Political Attaché
Office of the MNA for Bonaventure
418 392-4174

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Effectiveness of CAUREQ Has Islanders Skeptical


An accident at Grand Entry, Magdalen Islands (Îles-de-la-Madeleine) raised many questions about the quality of the Regional Emergency Call Center of Eastern Quebec (CAUREQ-Centre Appel Urgence Regionale Est de Quebec) in Rimouski.
Two weeks ago, a dispatcher CAUREQ called paramedics, but had forgotten to warn first responders and the nurse on duty, which created a significant delay in the treatment of an injured traffic victim.
Years ago, the Councillor of Grand Entry, Jonathan Lapierre, had requested an ambulance in the east end of the Archipelago to improve ambulance response times.
However, the Regional Health Agency and Social Services refused by saying that first responders and a nurse on duty were called to the scene, thus improving pre-ambulance services.
On Saturday, December 17, an ATV operator was struck by a car on Route 199, in Grand Entry. A passerby called 911 in Rimouski, but another witness had to recall thirty minutes later to ask why first responders and the nurse had not yet arrived at the scene.
Jonathan Lapierre, councilor to the Magdalen IslandsJonathan Lapierre, councilor to the Magdalen Islands

According to Jonathan Lapierre, as a result of this second call, first responders were told: "It highlights again the whole issue there is in the chain of prehospital care."
The patient was urgently transferred to Quebec. The CAUREQ apologized for the incident, but the islands municipality once again requested the Public Health and Social Services to improve their services this week.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Play for Control of 30% of the Islands and Charge Users

   Thirty percent of the Archipelago is currently owned by the Quebec government. This area of land is essentially composed of land that unite the islands as one. 

   The mayor of the Îles-de-la-Madeleine municipality, Joël  Arseneau, indicated that it is mainly dunes and marshland. These lands are still owned by the Quebec government, but could be managed locally by the Islands MRC. 

   The MRC could then establish rules for hunting, fishing, ATV traffic, skateboarders, surfers and shellfish harvesters and cranberry pickers. 

   This management will be charged, but also becomes an income, according to the mayor of the Islands. "When you go, for example," explains Joël Arseneau, "to address the issue of the occupation by seasonal campers in dune areas, certainly we will have to get some income to ensure environmental and regulatory supervision of the territory. " 

   The mayor wants to even create a regional park " with certain rules so that users can enjoy the landscape, but ensuring it is protected. " 

   The project should be achieved by spring 2012.

Note:  This is a perfect example of the municipality of the Iles de la Madeleine grabbing for more money from overtaxed Islanders. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Save the Gulf of Saint Lawrence

Dear members of the St. Lawrence Coalition,
Dear partners,
Dear friends,

Environment minister, M. Peter Kent, has finally answered the numerous demands asking him to refer the Old Harry project to a review panel.
In a letter sent to the president of the Canada-Newfoundland-and-Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (the Office) we learn that minister Kent refuses to set up a review panel. He prefers to opt for different measures such as the updating of a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) completed in 2007 in Newfoundland.
We invite you to read the main conclusions of our analysis of the situation in the press release we have released yesterday. We mainly condemn the incoherence of Minister Kent who asks for an update of the strategic environmental assessment on oil and gas exploration in Newfoundland’s part of the Gulf, but without first putting a stop on the Old
Harry drilling project.
In addition, the Office has agreed today with the minister’s proposals and it gives preliminary details on the implementation procedures. We invite you to read the Office’s press release.
We will keep you informed of our future actions to influence the course of things and we are confident we will be able to count on your precious help.

Danielle and all the team: Karel, Jean-Patrick, Christian, Sylvain, Jérôme and Patrick

Danielle Giroux
St. Lawrence Coalition
Attention FragÎles
Do you know of groups or individuals that could possibly support the St. Lawrence Coalition? Talk about us! We need as much support as possible.
To join the Coalition, please fill the form.

Monday, June 20, 2011

For a Moratorium of Oil and Gas in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence

Old Harry Project:

The Federal Environment Minister must consider the recommendation of the Offshore Petroleum Board of Newfoundland and refer the project to a review panel Magdalen Islands, 14 June 2011 – The St. Lawrence Coalition welcomes the recommendation of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (the Board) to the Federal Minister of the Environment, Peter Kent, requesting that the proposed Old Harry project be referred to a federal review panel. Minister Kent must be attentive to the many concerns expressed by the public and must implement, without delay, a review panel.

The St. Lawrence Coalition will file its application today for a review panel to the Federal Minister of the Environment. The Coalition states that all coastal communities must be consulted in this project and that the scope of the assessment should be extended to the entire Gulf. A review panel would allow a better understanding of the implications that this new industry might have across the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the five coastal provinces.

At the interprovincial forum on oil and gas that was held in the Magdalen Islands on April 8th and 9th, representatives of coastal communities, municipal managers, representatives of fishermen, sea farmers, as well as tourism and environmental associations, called for a federal review panel on the exploratory drilling project filed by Corridor Resources Inc. with regards to the Old Harry prospect. Since then, many groups have officially filed an application review panel, including the urban agglomeration council of the Magdalen Islands and the Quebec Federation of Municipalities. 

“A federal review panel must be ordered by the Environment Minister if the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects or if public concerns warrant it” says Danielle Giroux, spokesperson for the St. Lawrence Coalition. “In the case of the proposed project by Corridor Resources Inc. we know that the environmental impacts of exploratory drilling may be very important and that many groups around the Gulf are clearly showing their concerns, want to be consulted, and are asking for a moratorium for the entire Gulf” continued Ms. Giroux. She also stresses that a record number of 52 submissions were sent to the Office following the initiative of coastal communities concerned about this project.

The St. Lawrence Coalition highlights the fact that the Gulf is a unique and extremely fragile ecosystem. Some aspects, such as environmental impacts can only be addressed with a global vision beyond the administrative and political boundaries that are drawn artificially.

“We ask the premiers of Quebec, PEI, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador to officially ask that the proposed exploratory drilling project of Old Harry be subjected to a federal review panel for the benefit of all”, explains Christian Simard, Director General of Nature Québec. “In Quebec, we expect the Charest government to be consistent and that it demands a prompt review panel, as it is not only in the interests of Quebec, but it is also in line with the motion adopted at the National Assembly” added Mr. Simard. The motion that passed unanimously in October 2010 required that the Canadian Government and that of Newfoundland, as well as the Office, wait for the results of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA-2) currently performed by the Quebec government before issuing any drilling permit at the Old Harry site, and to suspend the current authorizations.

The Coalition calls on all communities of the five provinces bordering the Gulf to also demand a review panel to the federal Minister of the Environment.

Corridor Resources Inc. is currently conducting an impact study for the Old Harry project and plans to carry out a first exploratory drilling in 2012.

The St. Lawrence Coalition includes 60 organizations and associations from various economic sectors and over 2400 individuals. Members of the Coalition are calling for a moratorium on exploration and exploitation of oil and gas across the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Sources :
Danielle Giroux
Spokesperson for the St. Lawrence Coalition (french interviews)
President, Attention FragÎles
418-986-6644 /

Manon Dubois, Communications specialist
David Fondation Suzuki
514-583-8455 /

Christian Simard, Director general
Nature Québec
418-648-2104 x2071 /

Sylvain Archambault, Protected areas and land use coordinator
CPAWS Québec chapter
418-686-1854 /