The third link: We must set the record straight

The third link: We must set the record straight

(In response to the exit of Ministers Bonardel and Julian)

What was our surprise reading the ministers’ arguments to denounce the “lies” about Episode III. To believe them, everyone is wrong…except them. Thus, it is our turn to denounce the lies. Let’s take a quick tour of the arguments in the article published in the magazine’s pages.

• Read also: Minister Bonardel is “tired” of lies on the third link

The third connection will not pollute because the cars will be electric. The production of car batteries is not necessarily environmentally friendly. Let’s take it for granted: promoting car use isn’t environmentally friendly at all. Of course, the production of greenhouse gases will be less important, but as the ministers themselves assure: overall production will be less in this calculation … even without a third link (according to their own figures).

And the prime minister himself admitted in the hall that the third episode was not an environmental solution, despite recent statements from one of his ministers on the subject. After all, an electric car will also not solve congestion problems, which generate huge costs every year.

In the future…

However, according to the ministers, opponents of the third link are having “difficulty to emerge” in the future. It is still necessary to perform such an exercise, which has not yet been done. What if the next generation had different goals in terms of mobility? What if our children and grandchildren, for example, had “real” environmental considerations? What if the future, as Minister Bonnardel suggests, is public transport? What are we going to do next with another highway project in Quebec, a city that already has such infrastructure? What will we do with the resulting urban sprawl? How will we serve these new suburbs? While many communities struggle to get adequate services from Quebec’s transportation infrastructure, it seems that the solution to many of the problems of the new millennium is… a tunnel in Quebec. Why do we go back to models of the past to predict the future? It is unlikely that using the same “recipe” from the 1970s, when all negative effects can be measured today, will produce different results.

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However, according to the ministers, the increase in traffic will be mainly related to “bridge users” and demography. Ministers, once again, seem to ignore the consensus in the scientific literature: an increase in highway width generates an induced increase in traffic. People adapt their behavior to what is presented to them: more possibilities in cars = more traffic. The science couldn’t be more clear. And since CAQ takes pride in listening to science, why not be so good this time around? And no, science is not limited to research on the epidemic.

Finally, according to the ministers, the expansion will be slowed due to the protection of farmland. Suppose, for once, CAQ will not listen to public opinion and will stick to its own opinion. Does this mean that the extension will not happen? This is forgetting that the neighboring towns and villages did not necessarily consume their entire living area. So there is still room for urban sprawl. Unless, thanks to public outings, we can be convinced that all the villages around Quebec and Levis do just that…agriculture. Without an area where the buildings inhabit, nothing?

In short, the arguments advanced by the ministers are, unfortunately, half-truths at best, and at worst lies. Not by taking public outings denouncing a situation we don’t like until it turns out to be true. Let’s be a little serious, Ministers, your release is simply…full of lies, and this is…to denounce the alleged lies. Repeating the same thing to anyone who wants to hear it does not create reality: it essentially fuels cynicism toward politicians, policymakers, and government agencies.

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We understand that in this “debate” about Episode III, there is above all a political game and, in the end, there is not enough room for science. Please don’t fall for the Hunter parody: Who can tell the most incredible story?

Claude Lavoie

Francois de Rosers

Jean Dubey

Jan Mercier

Emiliano Scano

Marie Helen Vandersmisen

Dominique Villeneuve

Members of the Center for Planning and Development Research (CRAD), Laval University

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