Ottawa – Canadians are less able to protect our water, air and land because of changes to environmental law outlined in Canada’s recent federal budget. The key change, essentially speeding up environmental reviews of mega-projects, will greatly hurt the public’s ability to participate in future processes.
“Environmental assessments need to be thorough, consultative and science-based,” said John Bennett, Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada. “Creating hard time limits and rushing the process compromises all these things.”
The changes will result in weaker environmental assessments and projects being approved without a full understanding of the social, economic and environmental impacts they will have.
“We have environmental assessment laws to prevent repeating the mistakes of the past. It is far better to identify problems and then improve a design than to breathe polluted air or clean up dead fish,” said Mr. Bennett.
Environmental lawyer David Boyd, author of the 2003 book Unnatural Law: Rethinking Canadian Environmental Law and Policy, warned about the “Conservatives’ covert war on the environment” in a recent article for iPolitics, in which he stated that 75% to 80% of Canadians want stronger environmental laws. The significant changes to environmental legislation recently tabled by the Harper Government, therefore, clearly ignore the priorities of a high majority of Canadians.
“The government has done a great injustice not only to the environment but to all Canadians and future generations,” said Mr. Bennett.
- No green future in Conservative budget, say Tides and Nature Canada (vancouverobserver.com)
- Federal budget proposals aim to streamline resources regulatory system (theglobeandmail.com)
- Despite promises that pipeline won’t be “fast-tracked,” aboriginals consider lawsuit (theglobeandmail.com)
- Faulty premise underlies Budget 2012 “streamlining” of environmental review process (op-ed) (pembina.org)