NOTE: Find Elizabeth May's submission to the Expert Panel reviewing environmental assessment law attached as a PDF below.
(OTTAWA) - The deadline for submissions to the process put in place by the Trudeau Liberals, the panel reviewing environmental assessment and chaired by Former Environmental Commissioner Johanne Gelinas, is today.
The Green Party of Canada has submitted a brief calling for the restoration of environmental assessments based on the principles of the original act, from 1993. Greens call on all Canadians to have their say on the review process before the window closes today.
"The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA), brought forward under former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, receiving Royal Assent under his successor, PM Jean Chrétien, was repealed in 2012 by Stephen Harper's omnibus budget bill C-38," said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). "In repealing CEAA, Harper eradicated core principles of the CEAA process including: the importance of public engagement and participation; the examination of alternatives; assessment of cumulative impacts; and a complete review of environmental and socio-economic impacts. For the first time, C-38 established a distinct regime for energy projects, sending those particular assessments to a cluster of agencies with no experience or background in environmental reviews."
Since the passage of C-38, pipeline projects have been reviewed under the National Energy Board, nuclear projects under the Canada Nuclear Safety Commission, and off-shore oil and gas activity on the East Coast under the Canada-Nova Scotia Off-Shore Petroleum Board and the Canada-Newfoundland/Labrador Off-shore Petroleum Board. None of these agencies are competent to conduct environmental reviews.
"The changes implemented in C-38 must be reversed. As well, the early weakness of CEAA can also be rectified. The Liberals have the chance to finally implement what was promised by Chretien's 1993 Red Book. We should establish the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency as more like a CRTC independent body, capable of conducting assessments. We can end the practice of industry self-assessments," Ms. May said.
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