On the road: “You can’t save your nature and your dollar sign” | Elections Quebec 2022

To be honest, no, I don’t. I see the almost black mountain against the light at the far end of the cove, the rounded beach, the deep blue ocean, the gulls and the few rare seagulls enjoying the sun quietly, on the dike, beak in the air.

On the other side of the street, in front of the sea and the birds, the Gaz-O-Bar and its petrol pumps. A dozen men have coffee there and have fun. There is Robert, Laval, Bertrand, Patrice, Reynald and the others. We are the league of the old stove. Every morning we meet heresays Robert Giroux, decidedly joking. When the weather is nice, we are outside. When winter begins, we sit inside, says Laval Lemieux, because here there is a mass of winter.

This morning, the league of the old stove discusses everything, nothing, and a lot of the election campaign. A bit like gulls and seagulls share the wharf peacefully, at Gaz-O-Bar, not everyone has the same political color, but as long as there is no chicanery, it’s finesays Reynald Cleary.

We are all René Lévesquesays Patrice Mimeault, 68. We are Quebecers as he was, we want what he wanted. Statement both simple and immensely complex. Laval Lemieux specifies: We others, we are blue over the head. Since 1981, the Parti Québécois has won the riding most often.

Bertrand Lapointe, Emeritus Member of the Gaz-O-Bar Old Stove League

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

In his faded blue overalls, Bertrand Lapointe sighs, grumbles. He finds that the sovereignist party has not served the interests of the Gaspesians. I am a French Canadian. Never in my life have I been a nationalist. Gaspésie is in opposition, it’s been 40 years, that’s why not much is happening here.

In the villages of Haute-Gaspésie, many men worked at the defunct copper mine of Murdochville where they went by taking the road to the Chic-Chocs, from L’Anse-Pleureuse. The subject of the mine, like the name of this village, inspires melancholy.

I worked there for 20 years. I lost my job in 2002 when they closed it. Reynald Cleary’s gaze wanders out to sea. When it was over at the mine, it got very sad around here. Half the world is gone. Life is gone.

If there is one subject on which everyone agrees at the Mont-Louis Gaz-O-Bar, it is the enthusiasm for what they all consider to be excellent news: the reopening of the mine. We’re just waiting for the mine to reopensaid Laval Lemieux, causing unanimous nods.

Twenty years after the smelter’s closure, Osisko Metals announced last July its intention to purchase the mine. If all goes according to plan, the reopening of the copper deposit could mean hundreds of new jobs in the region.

>The men sip their coffee.>

Ardent and patient at the same time, the members of the League of the Old Stove are never at a loss for words.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

Another issue that unites Gaz-O-Bar regulars is the woodland caribou. The livestock that lives in the mountain in the hinterland is dying, it has been declared in a state of extinction. On the eve of the election call, the Quebec government announced new measures to try to save it. Ten million dollars, an alliance with the federal government, a promise to reduce the disturbances which prevent the emblematic animal from reproducing. Which means, essentially, forest roads.

At Gaz-O-Bar, the league of the old stove gets annoyed. One of them argues that there is a lack of housing, that there is no longer a wharf in the village, that there is a lack of jobs, that the 132 falls into the river. So, the 30 caribou…

The old folks used to say that there were 250 animals on Mont Jacques-Cartier. They even called it the barn mountainremembers Bertrand. Yes, we have been busy. Yes, we’ve come a long way, but those beasts have shared the same blood for 100 years, they’re inbred, and that doesn’t make strong children.

Bertrand adds: Before, there weren’t many people on that mountain, and now it’s crowded. The caribou, nature, it brings tourists to Gaspésie and it’s understandable. It’s also understandable that we want to save him, but you can’t have your nature and your dollar sign at the same time.

>A caribou on Mount Jacques-Cartier.>

A caribou on Mount Jacques-Cartier

Photo: Radio-Canada / Eric Deschamps

The photo you see above was not taken by Ivanoh, but by Éric Deschamps, 31, a wildlife photographer who had agreed to take us to observe the caribou on the summit of Mont Jacques-Cartier. While studying actuarial science in Montreal and working at the Apple Store at DIX30, in the southern suburbs of Montreal, he gave up everything six years ago to settle in Gaspésie. His eyes shining with fervor, he tells me about his love for the region. It makes me emotional to talk about this, but nature has the power to change lives. She changed mine.

The mountains, the sea, the forest, the birds, the animals and, of course, the caribou fascinate him.

As we climb a steep path where there are no trees and the rocks are covered in soft green lichen, I gasp and feel like I’m on the moon. Eric releases an alarming figure. When I arrived in Gaspésie in 2016, we were talking about 148 individuals by aerial count. There, we are talking about 34! The situation is catastrophic.

Deschamps became a star on social networks when he published a video shot in the Chic-Chocs a few years ago. It was a November morning. He was on a summit of the Chic-Chocs. He met a herd of moose who came to see him, curious. This post has been viewed by over a million people. Since then, the young man has devoted himself to nature and photography. He has read a lot about the wildlife he photographs.

>Heavy fog shrouds the top of the mountain>

Éric Deschamps arrives at the summit of Mont Jacques-Cartier.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

He uses a very simple image to explain why the caribou are in such bad shape: It’s as if, in your house, we removed the toilet, then the dining room, the living room and finally the roof. Caribou need a mature forest to live, and the forest industry is eating away at the forest, you’re eating up your home.

Éric Deschamps is sorry for the wind of discord that the subject of caribou sows in the region. He understands very well that the forest industry in the Gaspé feeds a lot of people here. There are so many Christmas gifts bought thanks to the cut trees. There are many of my buddies who arrive financially thanks to that. But at the same time, if governments don’t act now, quickly, we will lose them, the woodland caribou.

For the record, Ivanoh and I have never seen caribou, despite the hours spent on the mountain. Yet they were there, but hidden by the mist and the dense, cold rain. We got a good rinse, summarized Eric when we descended, soaked to the skin. Smiling despite our misadventure. The young man is inhabited by an obvious serenity. He explains that Gaspésie is located far from the stresses of the city and that its beauty, its silence make him happy.

>Birds watch the surface of the water in search of fish.>

Seagulls and gulls share the view in the port of Saint-Maxime-du-Mont-Louis.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

At Gaz-O-Bar, same thing. In front of the petrol station, the league of the old stove contemplates the sea. It’s beautiful, we don’t get tired, say the guys. Worse we don’t have the same stress as in townadds Reynald.

The league of the old stove is very happy that young people like Éric come to live here and, despite some differences of point of view, they agree like seagulls and gulls on one thing: the happiness of living with your nose in the air. marine.

The article is in French

Tags: road save nature dollar sign Elections Quebec

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