Earth Day More Important than Ever

SIDNEY, BC - Since the first Earth Day in 1970, Canada has seen steady progress in environmental legislation and protections  -- until this year. 

This Earth Week was marked by announcements from the Harper Conservatives --  undermining environmental assessment and attacking environmental groups as "radicals."

"This year on Earth Day, we need citizens to speak up and speak loudly to demand a healthy environment. Our government should not be ignoring the values of Canadians in favour of the oil patch," said Green Leader Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands. 

The attacks keep coming:  

  • Slashing the budgets of government departments in charge of environmental regulations;
  • Turning environmental assessments into rubber stamps;
  • Giving Revenue Canada $8-million to specifically target environmental charities;
  • Pressuring funders to stop supporting Canadian environmental charities;
  • Crafting a budget that supports supertankers, pipelines and fossil fuels, but does nothing to address the threat of climate change;
  • Eliminating the National Round Table on Environment and Economy;
  • Continually muzzling Canada's scientists;
  • Cutting funding to scientific research stations, including Canadian Food Inspection Agency research centres and PEARL, a world-renowned atmospheric research centre;
  • Planning to gut the Fisheries Act by removing provisions for habitat protection; 
  • Closing the emergency response stations under Environment Canada to respond to oil or chemical emergencies, and leaving only one office in Quebec.

"We have never seen an assault on nature of this scale and determination in Canada's history.  As communities across the country come together to celebrate Earth Day and to take steps to reduce their ecological footprint, we need to speak up and expand our political footprint.  Let 2012 be the year we return to Canadian values -- protect the planet for our children's future, stay in Kyoto and invest in the green energy revolution that creates tens of thousands of jobs,"  said May.

Debra Eindiguer