Prominent environmentalists, First Nations call on Trudeau to keep promise on restoring environmental protections

Prominent environmentalists, First Nations call on Trudeau to keep promise on restoring environmental protections

(VANCOUVER)  – Today in Vancouver, Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands) joined David Suzuki and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC), to call on Justin Trudeau to keep his promises on restoring environmental protections.

“Environmental Assessment in Canada is broken, a fact that has been confirmed by expert panels and parliamentary committees over the past two years,” Ms. May said. “Stephen Harper's destructive omnibus budget bills C-38 and C-45 led to this mess, and we are now urging the Liberals to keep their promise and introduce bold legislation this fall to re-envision Environmental Assessment for a new generation.

“Today, environmentalists and First Nations are calling for a hard reset of the National Energy Board (NEB), and a complete rework of the Navigation Protection Act to bring back automatic protections of all navigable waters,” Ms. May said.

“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,” Ms. May said. “If the Liberals don’t course correct now, the devastating changes wrought in C-38 and C-45 will remain largely in place. It’s time for the Liberals to step up and reform the environmental assessment process in Canada, as they promised they would do.”



The Liberal government released a 23-page discussion paper in late June that suggests it may be backtracking on promised environmental reforms. Among other concerns, the discussion paper makes clear that the Liberals may be:

  • rejecting the NEB and Environmental Assessment expert panels' recommendations. The Environmental Assessment panel urged that impact assessment be carried out by a single quasi-judicial agency. Only since Stephen Harper's 2012 omnibus budget bill C-38 have the NEB, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Off-shore Petroleum boards had a mandate to conduct environmental reviews. The discussion paper would perpetuate Harper's changes and allow these energy regulators to conduct environmental reviews.

  • completely ignoring requirements for sustainability, a word that does not appear even once in the discussion document.

  • maintaining the destruction of the Navigable Waters Protection Act, instead putting the onus on jurisdictions to apply on a case-by-case basis to restore NWPA protection to waterways one at a time. This approach can never restore the requirement that obstructions to navigation on millions of inland waterways require a permit, as was the case since 1882.

Find Ms. May’s comprehensive response to the discussion paper, including a table comparing expert panel recommendations to the government’s discussion paper responses here.

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