SIDNEY, BC -- Prime Minister Harper has dropped any pretence that he cares about
Canada’s natural environment, reducing the federal government’s
oversight role to miniscule proportions.
“It is full steam ahead for development, with rubber stamps in the place
of actual regulation. Canada’s natural resources will pay the price
and future generations will have to suffer the aftermath,” said Green
Leader Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands.
With the spin of reducing duplication, Natural Resources Minister Joe
Oliver has announced that the federal government will download
environmental assessment to the provinces and reduce the number and
types of projects that have to undergo any assessment at all.
“It is a fallacy to suggest that the environment is provincial
jurisdiction. Fish fall under federal regulation, even if the water is
provincial. It has always been the case that the federal government
plays a strong role in environmental assessment. This is outrageous,”
Oliver’s announcement also includes strict timelines on environmental
assessments and permitting processes. “The end point of an assessment
should be determined by whether the work is done, not by an arbitrary
deadline,” said May. “It is just another way of undermining the process
to the benefit of industry and to the detriment of the public, First
Nations, and the environment.”
“Mr. Harper and Mr. Oliver try to say that ignoring environmental
impacts is the way to create jobs. It is incredibly backward thinking.
As seen in many other countries, the future of the economy is in green
jobs – renewables, technology, energy efficiency. The rest of the world
will judge us—Canada will lose our place as an international leader and
be known as a country where anything goes,” said May.
European Union governments have aligned their economic objectives with
climate-protecting goals. The Government of China is investing billions
in green technology. The Harper Government has made Canada the only
country in the industrialized world to cut environmental protection and
to reduce investments in green energy.
With high energy prices, dwindling oil supplies, and the coming climate
crisis, a strong economy depends on mobilizing resources to develop and
commercialize low-carbon technologies. Canada should be looking to the
future and taking advantage of these opportunities.