Photo: Shredding of environmental review process will cost Canadians

The federal government's decision to reduce Canada's environmental review processes puts Canadians' health and safety at risk. (Credit: kk+ via Flickr)


The federal government's plan to shrink its oversight of proposed natural resource developments, cutting many environmental reviews or passing them to the provinces, is a major step backwards for Canada in the protection of its citizens and the air, water, soil and healthy ecosystems on which we all depend.

Here are some key points from the David Suzuki Foundation in response to the announcement:

Reviews protect people as well as natural systems

  • Canada's environmental review processes and laws are in place to safeguard our families and communities from pollution, toxic contamination and other environmental risks.
  • Today's decision to reduce Canada's environmental review processes and rush the approval of major oil and mining projects, among other industrial development, will lead to poor decisions — putting the health and safety of Canadians at risk.

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Pay now or pay much more later

  • Rushed public review of megaprojects risks could leave citizens on the hook for multibillion dollar clean-up costs when things go wrong later.
  • Most Canadians recognize that our economy needs to shift away from overdependence on non-renewable natural resources to a cleaner, innovative, and diversified economy that protects the health and safety of Canadians — and provides more and better jobs over the long-term.
  • Canada needs a measured and thoughtful approach that ensures that we approve projects that make the greatest contribution to a cleaner, more innovate economy, not a 'rubber stamp' for non-renewable resource development at all costs.

Federal environment reviews matter

  • Recent reports by the Auditor General have shown that the federal government is failing to monitor oil pollution levels in our rivers and today's decision is weakening the oversight and enforcement that could lead to the approval of potentially dangerous projects.
  • Eliminating or limiting federal environmental reviews means eliminating the environmental safety net for things like fish and fish habitat, which are the federal government's legal responsibility.
  • Provincial environmental assessment processes are inconsistent from each other and often weak, lacking key safeguards of the federal process.

Several of the above points are courtesy of West Coast Environmental Law.

April 17, 2012

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Jun 26, 2012
12:16 AM

I find a detail description regarding Canada's environmental in your blog. Thanks for acknowledgement of its environment.

Apr 20, 2012
7:27 AM

We are not putting off the decision, or the problems until later. We bury our heads in the sand, we ignore the obvious, and we will pay for it, IN our lifetimes. The effects of climate change are subtle, at first. As the problem escalates, it is cumulative. Greenhouse gases pile up, going no where as we clear cut the forests that clean the air. We ruin the oceans with plastics and a large portion of food comes from the ocean. We destroy habitable land with the cast offs of industry (Sydney tar ponds). We kill off the predators that keep nature in balance, such as sharks and polar bears, leaving the seal population to grow without balance, which will threaten the fish population.

Life will change as air gets harder to breath, health deteriorates from pollution, and the costs of quick profits mount higher and higher.

Technology is part of the problem, or use of it. There are alternatives to combustion generated electrical power, but if we don't use power, we don't need to generate it. I hope to incorporate a balanced approach to living in the next few years, reducing my consumption of products, buying used as much as possible, and growing food to help reduce packaging. As I come to a clearer understanding of off grid living, and sustainable living, I also know its possible.

By frugal, affordable, and sustainable living, I hope to not add to the increasing problems threatening life on this planet.

Apr 19, 2012
7:29 AM

The Federal government has chosen the path that will be most harmful to our environment and least helpful to our economy in the long run. I can't see any evidence that this is the path the majority of Canadians thought they would be following after the last election.

Governments and corporations are powerless against a society that decides to clear it's own path rather than follow the wishes of a few. If each of us start viewing the myriad choices we make on a daily basis, using the goal of developing an environment friendly, sustainable economy as our lens, we will create that reality.

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