Liberals quietly backtrack on promised reforms on environmental protection

(OTTAWA) – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands), released the following statement:

“The Liberals are consulting people to death and then ignoring the evidence. We needed swift action in restoring the environmental assessment laws as they existed before 2006, and after they were devastated by Stephen Harper's destructive omnibus budget bills C-38 and C-45. Justin Trudeau and Liberal candidates were clear through the 2015 election campaign that the EA process was ‘broken’ and that the National Energy Board, which had never had authority to conduct environmental reviews (EA) before 2012, was making a hash of the process.

“Over the past two years, the Liberals launched high-level expert panels that crisscrossed the country and spent millions consulting Canadians and stakeholders. Finally, all the recommendations from four different consultation exercises are in – two expert panels on EA and the NEB, and two parliamentary committees tasked with consultation for the Fisheries Act and Navigation Protection Act. With the quiet release of a 23-page discussion paper in late June, the Liberals appear to be ignoring or rejecting good advice and accepting bad advice.

Among other concerns, the discussion paper makes clear that the Liberals are:

  • rejecting the NEB expert panel recommendations. The EA panel urged that the NEB not conduct environmental assessments, but that impact assessment be carried out by a single agency, to be granted quasi-judicial status.
  • maintaining the destruction of the Navigable Waters Protection Act, instead relying on jurisdictions to apply on a case-by-case basis to restore NWPA protection to waterways.

“The only improvements appear to be better public notification and improving rights to participate in the EA process. I also support Indigenous concerns about a lack of consultation on the issues affecting their rights – including, critically, to navigate remote wilderness rivers and streams.

“I fear that the environmental reforms promised by the Liberals are shaping up to little more than half-measures, or worse. I urge all Canadians to submit their comments at before August 28 to compel this administration to adopt all of the expert panels’ recommendations for these desperately needed environmental reforms,” Ms. May said.

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For additional information or to arrange an interview, contact:
Dan Palmer
Press Secretary | Attaché de presse
m: (613) 614-4916