Part 3: Preserving and Restoring the Environment

Our natural environment is the source of our wealth and our health. Canada’s forests, water, soil and energy resources fuel our economy. However, if we treat our environment like a business in liquidation, those resources and our economy will suffer. The lack of federal regulation, monitoring, and action has made Canada one of the world’s biggest and most tragic offenders against the environment. We rank amongst the world’s worst for wasteful use of natural resources. Our soil, air, and waters are dumping grounds for toxic chemicals. Through inadequate environmental protection we risk leaving our children the deplorable legacy of a debilitated and degraded environment. How can we be so thoughtless?

The Green Party of Canada has set out its plan for a sustainable future grounded in fiscal responsibility, ecological health, and social justice.

As the only party working within a triple bottom line (economic, ecological, and social) approach to every policy, our position on key environmental issues is clear.

It is urgent that the Canadian government set real targets, with measurable objectives, and put in place the resources to deliver on those goals. Recent history makes it clear that purely voluntary efforts do not work. Recent history also demonstrates that policies must be consistently applied. For example, it is not possible to reduce GHGs while subsidizing the planet’s single biggest environment-damaging industrial development project and most carbon-intensive oil – bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands.

We need to correct the perception that economic success is dependent on growth and build understanding of the benefits of a steady-state economy (non-boom/bust economy). Continued exponential growth is counter to the realities of a finite planet.

Overarching advance review of projects requires the restoration of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.  Despite promises form the Trudeau Liberals to repair the damage inflicted under Harper to CEAA, the new Liberal approach essentially entrenches the far narrower review of far fewer projects.  Adequate financing for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to ensure it can handle the breadth and number of reviews it did in 2006 is essential.  The recommendations of the Expert Panel on Environmental Assessment, that CEAA operate as a quasi-judicial tribunal, should be enacted.