Viewpoint : March 2016

Sustainable Mobility
Shameful inaction of the Fonds vert

For over three years, we’ve been asking questions about the Fonds vert, a fund dedicated to green initiatives and the reduction of GHG. Basic questions like: “How much money has been accumulated?” or “How much has been spent?” and especially “For what?”  And for three years, we’ve been waiting for answers.
The mismanagement of the Fonds vert has been making headlines recently and there is good reason to be outraged. We know that for each of the past three years, it was chided by the Auditor General for its arbitrary choice of projects, its inadequate follow-up, its unverifiable results and its misuse of public funds. Recently, the media added fuel to the fire by revealing that the Green Fund financed an $800,000 project for the installation of fins on Air Canada planes, granted Valéro-Ultramar $6 million for the construction of a pipeline between Québec City and Montréal, and was used by the Ministry of Transport to reduce roadwork debt. At the same time, the government was cutting funds for the maintenance of the Route verte and reducing investments in the development of urban bike paths! What’s wrong with this picture!
Clearly, the Fonds vert is missing its target. In the past decade, transport greenhouse gas emissions have gone up, rather than down. Time for a change in direction.  
So there is cause for celebration over the government’s recent decisions to evaluate the management of the Fonds vert and give a new agency responsibility for coordinating all government activities related to energy efficiency and the fight against climate change. Hopefully, this will put an end to the Fund’s lack of transparency and trigger planned investments in public transit and additional investments in active transportation.
Let’s hope that the Fonds vert will be managed responsibly and drive a major economic shift toward sustainable mobility (collective and active transportation)!

Suzanne Lareau
President and CEO