OTTAWA - The Green Party of Canada is outraged at the news that the Harper government is slashing funding to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA). The latest cut of 43.1% comes on the heels of a 6.9% cut, meaning the agency in charge of ensuring projects don’t harm Canada’s environment has now lost fully half of its funding. “Harper’s Throne Speech in June committed to improving the environmental assessment process, and instead he is driving a stake into its heart,” said Green Leader and Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands Elizabeth May.
“It makes absolutely no sense to be giving $1.4 billion a year in subsidies to the oil and gas industry while allotting a measly $17 million to CEAA. In what way is that protecting our environment? The priorities of the Harper government are obviously not in line with those of Canadians,” said May.
The June 3rd Speech from the Throne stated, “Our Government is committed to developing Canada's extraordinary resource wealth in a way that protects the environment. It will support major new clean energy projects of national or regional significance, such as the planned Lower Churchill hydroelectricity project in Atlantic Canada. It will engage the provinces, territories and industry on ways to improve the regulatory and environmental assessment process for resource projects, while ensuring meaningful consultation with affected communities, including Aboriginal communities.”
CEAA will be reduced to one third of the number of full time staff and two entire programs will be eliminated, one on improving the regulatory framework around major projects and the other on consulting aboriginal groups.
“At a time when we should be extremely careful to not adversely affect our biodiversity, our water, and our air quality, we are instead moving backward and hamstringing the one agency that has the environment as the top priority,” said May. “These cuts once again highlight the anti-environment ideology of the Harper government. To add to the insult, CEAA will now be incapable of consulting with aboriginal groups in a meaningful manner.”
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