Budget: Canadians have no say in environmental laws
OTTAWA- Canadians are less able to protect our water, air and land because of changes to environmental law outlined in today’s 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.
David Boyd, in his book “Unnatural Law: Rethinking Canadian Environmental Law and Policy”, found 98% of Canadians view the environment as essential to human survival, and in an article from the same author on the iPolitics website stated that 75% to 80% want stronger environmental laws. Such changes to significant environmental legislation 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.