The reactions are strong following the information revealed in the report from the program Enquête concerning the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs.
Whistleblowers have unveiled a system that is causing Quebecers to lose millions of dollars.
The various unions reacted strongly, denouncing on the one hand the cuts in staff within the ministry as well as a lack of political will on the part of the government.
«This omerta in relation to the public service and public knowledge of the slippages within the ministries, it is there permanently», Declared the president of the Union of professionals of the government of Quebec, Line Lamarre.
She is not surprised by the revelations of the Investigation report. Like other unions representing forestry workers, she deplores the cuts in staff within the ministry and a lack of political will on the part of the government.
For some time now, forest engineers have expressed their disagreement internally with the methods of the Ministère des Forêts. However, many are reluctant to speak out in public for fear of reprisals, she explains.
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Louis Robert is this agronomist from the Ministry of Agriculture who, after having denounced the interference of the private sector in research on pesticides in the agricultural environment, was fired. After a saga of several months, he had to be reinstated.
Too many cuts?
For its part, the Syndicat de la function publique et parapublic du Québec believes that the successive cuts to the ministry are partly responsible for the problem.
«We are no longer aware of what is happening on the ground. Our staff has been reduced so much that our inspectors in the field are not even able to do the job.», Mentioned the president of the union, Christian Daigle.
For his part, the professor in the Department of Wood and Forest Sciences at Laval University, Luc Bouthillier, believes that the ministry will have to explain itself.
«Let’s be transparent about the methods, he said. How numbers, metric data are transformed into dollars and cents. Let’s be transparent with this, because there is a big doubt that has been raised and basically, it’s an income that goes to everyone.»
The report of Investigation also speaks of a laxness of the Ministry of Forests in the management of forest royalties.
– With the collaboration of Jean-Marc Belzile