First Round of Eco-Olympic Medals Awarded to Federal Political Candidates
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 16, 2000
OTTAWA: Environmental groups issued the first round of Eco-Olympic Medals awarded to those who are both standing Members of Parliament and challengers based on personal achievements.
“We went the route of Eco-Olympics, because traditionally it is hard to gauge a party by its election promises. On the other hand, many individuals within Parliament make huge efforts to improve the fate of environmental legislation and push for change, but go virtually unnoticed”, explained Elizabeth May of the Sierra Club of Canada.
The only Team (ie Political Party) GOLD medals went to the Green Party and the Canadian Action Party. BRONZE team medals went to the New Democratic Party and the Progressive Conservatives. The other parties did not merit medals, although many individuals within the parties were winners of numerous medals. In all, 39 federal candidates received medals. Two were disqualified.
As well as rewarding MPs who have been strong environmental champions, the groups, organized by Sierra Club of Canada, also acknowledged those who were disqualified from competition through preliminary DRUG screening — with DRUG an acronym for “Dreadful, Regressive, Un-Green.”
The top Gold medallists were those from the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. Veteran member and former Environment minister Charles Caccia was the run-away winner, streaking across the Eco-Olympics with four gold medals. Coming a close second with three Gold medals each were Liberals Clifford Lincoln and Karen Kraft-Sloan and Progressive Conservative Environment critic, John Herron.
Those with the worst environmental records, eliminated from competition, were Alliance Party environment critic Rahim Jaffer and Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
The medal standings were as follows:
Liberals — 8
Progressive Conservative — 1
Bloc Quebecois 1
Natural Law Party 1.
Progressive Conservative 2
Bloc Quebecois — 2.
Liberals — 3,
Alliance — 2 ( in a tie)
All told, Liberal MPs and new candidates topped the medal categories at 18 individual medal winners (with some receiving multiple awards), the New Democratic Party came in with 12 Eco-Champions, again with some multiples, Progressive Conservatives — 4, Bloc Quebecois 3, Alliance 4, and Natural Law Party , 1. Again it should be noted that no individuals medals went to Green Party candidates across Canada as they are all seen as Gold medal winners through the team GOLD.
For more information:
Sierra Club of Canada, (613) 241-4611
Let the Games Begin!
Inspired by Speaker of the House, the Hon. Gib Parent’s call to open the House of Commons with the invocation, “Let the games begin!,” a national coalition of environmental groups is awarding medals for those candidates for federal Parliament who have Olympic caliber-achievements in environmental protection. In order to assist Canadians in identifying political contenders with a strong environmental track record, medals are being awarded for the following categories: Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals on an individual or team (political party) basis. As well some candidates have been rejected from Eco-Olympic competition. In a satirical extension of the Olympic theme, some candidates are being identified as particularly anti-environmental through “preliminary DRUG screening.” In this case, “”DRUG” does not refer to illegal substances, but is an acronym for “Dreadful, Regressive, Un-Green.”
None of the medal awards constitute endorsements. In fact, in some ridings more than one candidate has been recognized for environmental accomplishments. Nor does the medal race favour one party over others. It is, however, an attempt to increase voter awareness of the environment as an election issue. Those candidates who are multiple GOLD medal winners deserve the thanks and praise of Canadians from coast to coast for working, sometimes without support of their own caucus, to give Canadian children a brighter, safer and healthier future.
Two “teams” -- otherwise known as political parties -- merit a team GOLD MEDAL:
1) GOLD to the Green Party.
Under the leadership of team coach Joan Russow, the Greens have strong positions on all critical environmental issues. Beyond that, the party embraces an alternative economic vision of sustainability and equity. While other parties are graded on performance, we award the Green Party a GOLD medal in recognition of its persistence and commitment. All Green Party candidates across Canada are hereby entitled to claim GOLD in the Eco-Olympics in their personal and team capacities.
2) GOLD to the Canadian Action Party:
Paul Hellyer’s lonely long-distance run for GOLD deserves credit for
identifying the increased clout of corporations over environmental and other domestic regulation as a result of the Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement. His party’s call to abrogate the agreements and withdraw environment, education and health care from the current negotiations under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) at the World Trade Organization merits a GOLD.
3) The New Democratic Party merits a bronze medal for their performance in opposition (although if medals were given for party platforms, as opposed to performance, the NDP would merit GOLD). The NDP failed to reach a team GOLD, because their focus in the House during Question Period competition was rarely on the environment. Still, outstanding work by a number of superior eco-competitors within the NDP team earns them a BRONZE medal.
4) The Progressive Conservative Party rates a BRONZE medal in this category. Although team coach Joe Clark has not been long in the Eco-Olympics, his record as Prime Minister was strong on environmental values, and the team’s environment critic earned praise for dogged pursuit of Eco-Olympic GOLD.
It should be noted that the Liberal Caucus Olympic hopefuls in the Synchronized Clapping competition were edged out of the medal categories. Personal GOLDS for eco-athletes who put the environment ahead of voting along party lines saved the Liberals from this relatively ignominious medal category.
INDIVIDUAL MEDAL CATEGORY
1) The Hon. Charles Caccia (Liberal, Davenport, Ontario)
Former Minister of the Environment in the Cabinet of the Rt.Hon. Pierre Trudeau, Mr. Caccia has won four Gold Medals in the Eco-Olympics, making him the outstanding champion of these Olympics.
GOLD MEDAL IN THE LONG-DISTANCE MARATHON:
As Chair of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, Charles Caccia has shown the endurance of the long distance runner. His persistence and conviction in pursuing environmental goals is extraordinary and out-paced any one else in this race.
GOLD MEDAL FOR THE TOXIC CHEMICAL HURDLES:
Working for effective legislation to eliminate persistent, bio-accumulative toxic chemicals, within the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Ultimately voting against the bill after government-sponsored amendments weakened the bill.
GOLD MEDAL FOR HEAVY-LIFTING TO PROTECT HEALTH:
The Report of the Standing Committee on Pesticides provided clear and compelling recommendations to reduce exposure to toxic pesticides. And reform the outdated Pest Control Products Act. Unfortunately, Health Minister Allan Rock did not accept the recommendations.
GOLD MEDAL FOR 100-YARD DASH TO PROTECT ENDANGERED SPECIES:
Mr. Caccia has proposed four Private Members Bills to protect species at risk, including one in the last session of Parliament. His bill was comprehensive, based on scientific listing and included protection of habitat. Unfortunately, the government ignored his model.
2) The Honourable Clifford Lincoln (Liberal, Lac-Saint-Louis, Quebec)
Clifford Lincoln has a lifetime of achievement for environmental protection. A former Minister of Environment from the Province of Quebec, he won three GOLD medals in the Eco-Olympics:
GOLD MEDAL FOR PRIVATE MEMBERS BILL TO BAN MMT:
After the government abandoned its ban of the neuro-toxic gasoline additive, manganese based MMT, apologized to the manufacturer for banning the substance in the first place and paying Ethyl Corp nearly $20 million in damages, Clifford Lincoln tabled his own bill to protect health and the environment by banning MMT. It didn’t pass, but it earned GOLD.
GOLD MEDAL FOR THE TOXIC CHEMICAL HURDLES:
Like fellow team mate, Charles Caccia, Clifford Lincoln risked the wrath of his party by voting against the gutted version of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Lincoln’s courage and commitment to protect the environment and human health from toxic chemicals is in a GOLD medal category.
GOLD MEDAL FOR OPPOSING COSMETIC USE OF PESTICIDES:
As part of the Standing Committee on the Environment, Clifford Lincoln earns GOLD for promoting the reduction of exposure of Canadians to pesticides, following a role he has played since the Liberals first came to power in 1993, pushing for legislative reform of Canada’s outdated pesticide legislation.
3) Karen Kraft Sloan (Liberal, York North, Ontario)
Karen Kraft Sloan has shown amazing skills in working with business, advocating for rural concerns and environmental values. As past Parliamentary Secretary to both Ministers Sergio Marchi and Christine Stewart, she distinguished herself in the Eco-Olympics with three GOLD medals.
GOLD FOR CLIMBING THE ECO-SUMMIT:
At her own initiative, Karen Kraft-Sloan contributed an important new institution to Parliament Hill -- the Eco-Summit. Ms. Kraft-Sloan brought parliamentarians across party lines to a non-partisan examination of the links between environment and human health.
GOLD FOR THE TOXIC CHEMICALS HURDLES:
Karen Kraft Sloan completes the trio of Eco-Olympians who cared more about protecting human health and the environment than voting along party lines by voting against the gutted version of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.
GOLD FOR THE ENDANGERED SPECIES MARATHON:
Through a marathon of two bills, both of which died on the Order Paper, Ms. Kraft-Sloan worked tirelessly to ensure a bill to protect species at risk, working to achieve a balance to protect rural interests.
4) John Herron (Progressive Conservative, Fundy-Royal, New Brunswick)
As Progressive Conservative Environment Critic, John Herron has become a strong Eco-Olympian and medal hopeful for future contests. This year he sweeps the categories and wins three GOLD medals:
GOLD FOR KAYAKING THE PETITCODIAC RIVER:
John Herron’s personal efforts to raise the need to restore the Petitcodiac River merits a GOLD in the Eco-Olympics.
GOLD FOR THE TOXIC CHEMICAL HURDLES:
Surviving the grueling hurdles of the Canadian Environmental ProtectionAct, Mr. Herron rates GOLD for working to pass legislation to phase out the most dangerous, toxic, persistent and bio accumulative chemicals. Unfortunately, the bill was gutted by the Liberal’s head coach, Jean Chretien. Still, John Herron wins GOLD. John Herron has shown real endurance through the uphill contests to get the Liberal government to protect human health and the environment from air pollution, unnecessary pesticide use and toxic chemicals.
GOLD FOR THE ENDANGERED SPECIES MARATHON:
John Herron earns a third GOLD medal for his private member’s bill to protect species at risk. Herron’s bill, which did not pass, was acclaimed by the Eco-Olympic jury. It was nearly a perfect “10.”
5) Peter Stoffer (NDP, Sackville-Musquodoboit Valley-Eastern Shore, Nova Scotia):
Peter Stoffer came to the Parliamentary Eco-Olympics with previous environmental experience, known as a big booster of local competitions, the Atlantic Earth-Festival. As the Fisheries Critic for the New Democratic Party, Stoffer wins GOLD.
GOLD FOR SPEAKING UP FOR FISHERMEN IN THE OIL AND GAS RELAY.
Peter Stoffer has presented thousands of names on petitions to the House of Commons, seeking a full and fair environmental review prior to granting permits for oil and gas activity in Nova Scotia’s in-shore. In the tough competition to gain medals in defending fishery and environmental interests, Peter Stoffer wins GOLD.
6) Bill Blaikie (NDP, Winnipeg-Transcona, Manitoba)
As the NDP’s trade critic, Bill Blaikie has consistently raised the damage to the environment through trade deals.
GOLD FOR THE GLOBALIZATION MARATHON:
Bill Blaikie has often been the only Member of Parliament of any party who raises the issues of the erosion of environmental protection through trade deals. The recent decision by Liberal head coach Chretien to challenge the ability of France to ban asbestos was the target of Blaikie’s ire in statements in the House and to the news media. The loneliness of the long distance anti-GLOBILIZATION marathoner is GOLD medal material. We hope for more Eco-Olympic hopefuls in this category in the future. They can confidently look to Bill Blaikie for leadership.
7) Svend Robinson (NDP, Burnaby-Douglas, British Columbia)
GOLD MEDAL IN THE ECO-IRON MAN:
Over a lifetime of political activism, Svend Robinson has been a strong environmental activist -- from actions to block logging on Lyle Island, now within a national park, to recognition of the threats to the environment posed by militarism, Svend Robinson rates a GOLD.
8) Judy Wasylycia-Leis (NDP, Winnipeg North Centre, Manitoba)
As NDP Health Critic, Judy Wasylycia-Leis has worked tirelessly to promote health protection, including by reducing those environmental contaminants or untested food products that pose a threat to human health.
GOLD FOR THE ECO-HEALTH TRIATHALON: Eco-competitor Judy Wasylycia-Leis wins GOLD for the grueling Eco-Health Triathalon. Forced to jump over Health Canada barriers to freedom of information, Judy Wasylycia-Leis has forced public disclosure of the risks of bovine growth hormone, biotechnology, toxic chemicals and pesticides. Her Herculean efforts to force a review of Health Canada’s Health Protection Branch are appreciated by health and environmental activists across Canada.
9) Sheila Copps (Liberal, Hamilton East, Ontario):
Former Environment Minister deserves medals for her efforts to live up to the Liberals’ Red Book 1 promises to reduce greenhouse gases.
Unfortunately, Team Captain Jean Chretien knocked Copps out of competition by speaking out against action in order to protect Liberal votes in Alberta.
Transferred to Heritage Canada, Copps has once more had a chance to score in Eco-Olympic competition as Minister responsible for National Parks. The GOLD medal was contested by judges who noted her role in allowing a Hamilton-based refrigerator company an extension in the time limits to meet energy efficiency standards. This set-back knocked her out of the Kyoto marathon events. Following a review of the preliminary screening results, she was permitted to take her place at the podium, around which an abundance of Canadian flags were unfurled. The following GOLD medal is the only GOLD to a member of the federal Cabinet.
GOLD FOR PARKS PROTECTION:
Although the Liberals failed to complete the national parks system, as promised, Shelia Copps still rated Eco-Olympic GOLD for blocking creeping growth pressures in Banff and for accepting the recommendations of the Panel on Ecological Integrity in Canada’s National Parks. The last minute dash succeeded in getting the Parks amendments through the Senate before the writ dropped, thus adding to the mandate for protection of ecological integrity within our national parks.
10) Ole Hendrickson (NDP, Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, Ontario)
Ole Hendrickson, who has not been in the House of Commons, is a candidate with strong environmental background. His personal record working at the grassroots in Renfrew County, working to expose the dangers of the nuclear industry and particularly the risk of nuclear wastes in nearby Chalk River, have given Mr. Hendrickson a national reputation.
GOLD IN THE RADIOACTIVE RELAY:
Ole Hendrickson winds GOLD as an Eco-Oylmpian for his tireless, volunteer efforts to protect the health of his community from nuclear waste.
11) Inka Milewski (NDP, Beausejour-Petitcodiac, New Brunswick)
A newcomer to political competition, Inke Milewski is no stranger to the Eco-Olympics. She is Past President of the respected Conservation Council of New Brunwick, has worked to restore the Petitcodiac River and with World Wildlife Fund worked for the establishment of marine protected areas.
GOLD FOR ECO-WEIGHT LIFTING:
Inka Milewski streaks to a GOLD medal finish for her work in protecting the marine biodiversity of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Bay of Fundy. She has also spoken out against the mega-hog industry and supported local residents in their fight to monitor the environmental impact of the Metz farm, plus she has worked to restore the Petitcodiac River. She is considered a strong Eco-Olympic medal hopeful if sent to the House of Commons competitions
12) Marlene Jennings (Liberal, Notre Dame de Grace-Lachine, Quebec)
GOLD FOR PROTECTING HEALTH: Marlene Jennings wins GOLD handily for her private members’ bill to ban the cosmetic use of pesticides.
Bill C-388 would have protected all Canadians, particularly children, by removing the frivolous uses of lawn and garden pesticides. Her bill did not pass, but she wins GOLD, and deserves the thanks of all Canadians.
13) Bill Zimmerman (NDP, South Shore, Nova Scotia)
Another non-MP running with an exceptionally strong background of environmental activism.
GOLD FOR ENVIRONMENTAL MARATHON:
Bill Zimmerman has been part of Nova Scotia’s environmental movement for over twenty years, working in successful campaigns to keep uranium mining out of the province, end the use of the herbicide Agent Orange and supporting ecologically appropriate community development. For these Eco-Olympic long distance challenges, Bill Zimmerman wins GOLD.
14) David Orchard (Progressive Conservative, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan)
GOLD FOR THE TRADE MARATHON:
A newcomer to federal politics, David Orchard has a GOLD medal record-holder for his work to bring to light the dangers of the Free Trade Agreement and NAFTA. His choice of team surprises, but if elected, Eco-Champion Bill Blaikie will have support on exposing that trade deals erode environmental protection.
15) Stephen Owen (Liberal, Vancouver Quadra, British Columbia)
A first-time contender for the federal games, Stephen Owen is a bright Eco-Olympic hopeful. In his work as Ombudsman for the province, he focused on the need to resolve such serious environmental controversies as aquaculture. Owen was also the head of the CORE (Commission on Resource and Environment) process, established under Premier Harcourt to resolve some of the most explosive land-use conflicts in Canada.
GOLD MEDAL FOR ECO-HIGH JUMP Stephen Owen’s past Eco-Olympic performance rates a GOLD medal for jumping through and over large obstacles in order to bring about consensus on tough environmental-resource conflicts. Perhaps, if elected, he can help create awareness of the environment in team captain Jean Chretien.
16) Peter Mancini (NDP, Sydney-Victoria, Nova Scotia)
As Justice critic for the NDP, Peter Mancini is also the MP for the area that includes the Sydney Tar Ponds.
GOLD FOR TAR PONDS MARATHON:
The years go by without action to clean up Canada’s largest toxic waste site. Thanks to Peter Mancini, the issue is pushed in the House and in the New Democratic Party platform.
17) Lorne Nystrom (New Democratic Party, Regina-Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan)
GOLD FOR CURRENCY TRADING HIGH JUMP:
Thanks to the passage of Lorne Nystrom’s private members’ bill, the House of Commons is on record as favouring limitations on speculative global currency transactions. The casino economy of one trillion dollars a day in such transactions is seen as destabilizing to economies, creating more environmental pressures in developing countries. Nystrom’s bill, widely seen as supporting the “Tobin Tax” (proposed by Economic Nobel Laureate James Tobin) received wide non-partisan support, including from Finance Minister Paul Martin. All of this brings a deserved GOLD medal.
18) Rick Laliberte (Liberal, Churchill River, Saskatchewan)
Rick Laliberte earned Eco-Olympic GOLD for his performance on an opposing team. As New Democratic Party environment critic, Laliberte put in a GOLD medal performance, fighting for recognition of the dangers of endocrine disrupting chemicals in the review of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, for effective protection of species at risk, and for clean-up of the Sydney Tar Ponds. This strong Eco-Olympic contender will do wonders for the Liberal team.
19) Richard Wolfson (Natural Law Party, Ottawa West-Nepean, Ontario)
GOLD FOR SHOT-PUTTING BIOTECH:
As a long-time campaigner opposing the introduction of genetically modified foods, Richard Wolfson wins a GOLD medal in his first political competition.
20) Joe Jordan (Liberal, Leeds-Grenville, Ontario)
GOLD FOR WELL-BEING:
In the true spirit of overall eco-health, Joe Jordan wins GOLD for his Private Member’s Bill to develop sensible indicators of a society’s health. Bill C-416, the Well-Being Act, promoted sustainability indicators as an alternative to traditional economic measurements, such as the GNP. While the Bill did not pass, Jordan deserves solid GOLD for raising a critical issue and showing that some politicians can think long-term about the future health of Canada. Thanks Joe, and go for GOLD!
21) Helene Alarie (Bloc Quebecois, Louis-Hebert, Quebec)
A GOLD medal for Helene Alarie for putting forward a private member’s bill to force mandatory labelling of genetically modified foods (Bill- C-309). The Bloc Quebecois has had excellent policies on the biotechnology industry, in stark contrast to the biotech boosterism that defines the Liberal government approach. Mme. Alarie has worked tirelessly on issues in the agriculture.
1) Michelle Dockrill (NDP, Bras d’Or - Cape Breton, Nova Scotia)
Two Silver medals for this rookie MP, who proved to be a strong Eco-Olympic contender.
SILVER FOR FISH FARM HURDLES: Michelle Dockrill has won respect from Canadians for her pursuit of the truth about the massive federal funds flowing to Scotia Rainbow, a
polluting fish farm run by a Quebec businessman with ties to Jean Chretien.
Serge Lefreniere had previously run a fish farm in Quebec that killed an entire lake in the Gatineau. He re-surfaced with money to run an aquaculture operation in Cape Breton. Even though it was in her riding, Michelle worked to expose the truth about HRDC grants and push for economic development that creates jobs without harming the environment.
SILVER FOR SUPPORTING LOCAL FISHERMEN AND RESIDENTS:
Michelle Dockrill also merits a SILVER for her efforts in support of fishermen, First Nations and local communities working to have oil and gas permits along the shoreline rescinded until a full review can take place, and has supported people in Sydney calling for clean-up of the Muggah Creek estuary
2) Derek Wells (Liberal, South Shore, Nova Scotia)
SILVER FOR GEORGES BANK PROTECTION: Since leaving the House of Commons after the last election, Derek Wells played a crucial role in working with fishermen and environmentalists in extending the moratorium against oil and gas development in the sensitive and rich area of George’s Bank.
3) Jocelyne Girard-Bujold (Bloc Quebecois, Jonquiere, Quebec)
SILVER FOR ECO-OLYMPIC PESTICIDE DASH: As Environment Critic for the Bloc, Mme Girard-Bujold has been a stalwart in opposing unnecessary use of pesticides. She and all the women of the Bloc managed to delay Second Reading of the government’s endangered species bill, which no environmental group believed would work to protect species.
4) Ethel Blondin-Andrew (Liberal, Western Arctic, NWT)
As minister for children and youth, Ethel Blondin-Andrew has also been an advocate for the clean-up of toxic and radioactive waste sites in the NWT.
SILVER FOR RADIOACTIVE RELAY AND TOXIC MARATHON: Hundreds of thousands of tons of arsenic trioxide sit below Yellowknife thanks to the Giant Mine, while the town of Deline is next to a lake contaminated with 1.7 million tons of radioactive waste. As the MP for the area, Ethel Blondin-Andrew has demanded action of her Cabinet colleagues and raised the issue of the need to clean-up contaminated sites publicly and effectively. Of course, there’s still no clean up, but nevertheless, she earns a SILVER medal finish.
5) Gar Knutson (Liberal, Elgin-Middlesex-London, Ontario)
SILVER FOR TEAM ROWING EVENT: As a member of the Standing Committee of the Environment and as Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Gar Knutson was consistent and credible as an environmental champion. Working for improved endangered species legislation, toxic chemical elimination and for action to meet Canada’s international commitments, Knutson serves a SILVER medal.
6) Marlene Caterall (Liberal, Ottawa West-Nepean, Ontario)
SILVER FOR ECO-RUNNING:
For all her years in Parliament, environmentalists know Marlene Caterall can be counted upon to push for environmentally sound choices. An Eco-Champ, she works quietly and with determination to help the Green Team within the Liberal caucus. She merits at least a SILVER medal for consistent high performance.
7) Aileen Carroll (Liberal, Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford, Ontario)
SILVER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL TEAM WORK:
Recently, people have started noticing the work of Aileen Carroll as a strong advocate for species at risk, for pesticide reduction and to get trade agreements out of environmental regulation. Her current role as chair of the Liberals’ Environment and Sustainable Development Caucus will give her the added training boost for solid GOLD. Eco-Olympic SILVER goes to Aileen Carroll, an environmental champion.
8) Paul DeVillers (Liberal, Simcoe North, Ontario)
SILVER FOR ECO-OLYMPIC ROWING EVENT:
Working with colleagues on the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, over a period of years, Paul DeVillers pulled hard with the team to achieve Eco-Olympic GOLD. His work was often quiet but dogged, and his support for environmental goals, even if Captain Chretien snatched medal wins from the team, is much appreciated.
9) Alexa McDonough (NDP, Halifax, Nova Scotia)
As leader of the New Democratic Party, McDonough has had the advantage of hugely talented eco-champions on her team. Her past performance falls short of GOLD, only because the team’s championing of the environment was inconsistent, appearing as a priority on a peek-a-boo basis. Still, a SILVER medal is a sign of real achievement. Many hope for solid GOLD from the NDP Captain in the next Eco-Olympics.
10) Joe Clark (Progressive Conservative, Calgary Centre, Alberta)
SILVER FOR LONG DISTANCE MARATHON
Veteran competitor back in the game, Joe Clark rates a SILVER medal for past performance coupled with a strong environmental platform in this race. Just to recap, as Prime Minister, Clark announced a public review of the nuclear industry, made acid rain a national issue (thanks to environment minister John Fraser) and lost power over raising gas taxes. If re-elected, environmental groups will be looking to see if Clark lives up to Eco-Olympic hopes.
11) Dennis Gruending (New Democratic Party, Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, Saskatchewan)
SILVER IN THE ECO-OLYMPIC TRIATHALON:
As environment critic for the NDP, Gruending has proved to be a strong Eco-Olympic performer. His support for protecting human health and the environment, and backing team-mate Peter Stoffer on the need for protection of fisheries from oil and gas development, earn a SILVER.
12) Anna Curtis-Steele (Progressive Conservative, Sydney-Victoria, Nova Scotia)
SILVER FOR LONG DISTANCE MARATHON: While not ever competing in the federal Eco-Olympics, Anna Curtis-Steele is known as a long time environmental community activist. Dating back to the early 1980s when she risked a government job as environment department inspector of forest spray operations to testify against that the operations violated federal law. In the so-called Herbicide Case, she testified that she had been directly sprayed with toxic herbicides (2,4-D and 2,4,5-T) in violation of federal law. Since that time she has been an outspoken environmental advocate. SILVER MEDAL to this Eco-Olympic hopeful challenging GOLD medal winner Peter Mancini.
13) Monique Guay (Bloc Quebecois, Laurentides, Quebec)
SILVER medal to Monique Guay for sticking up for the environment, promoting reductions in pesticide use and a better regime to regulate toxic chemicals.
14) David Anderson (Liberal, Victoria, British Columbia)
The only Cabinet minister to have won a real Olympic medal for his rowing prowess at the 1960 Rome Olympics, Anderson was viewed as the best hope in years for the Liberal team to merit Eco-Olympic GOLD. But Anderson’s performance failed to live up to expectations in critical issues like endangered species and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). In fact, weak efforts on species and pushing through the gutted CEPA put him in jeopardy of being knocked out of Eco-Olympic competition altogether. But on one issue, his efforts pulled out from behind, over-taking the regressive polluting policies of the Ontario government, to seal a deal on air quality between Canada and the U.S.
SILVER MEDAL FOR ECO-ROWING TO CLEANER AIR:
The recently concluded annex to the Canada-U.S. Air Quality Agreement to reduce emissions leading to smog is a substantial achievement for air quality. David Anderson’s other competitions disappointed, but his work on air quality earns a solid SILVER.
1) Paul Martin (Liberal, LaSalle-Emard, Quebec)
The federal Finance Minister is a surprise medal holder in the Eco-Olympics. Paul Martin is blamed by many for the brutal cuts to environment -- crippling cuts of 30%. But a BRONZE is awarded in recognition of the Finance Minister’s personal efforts to repair the damage and direct funding in innovative ways to meet environmental challenges. Despite the huge gap in funding that remains, judges in the Eco-Olympics recognize that in the current political climate, Martin could have done much less and no one in the media would have noticed.
BRONZE MEDAL FOR ECO-FUNDING:
The $125 million fund to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for greening infrastructure, $100 million for technology innovation to reduce use of fossil fuels, to retro-fit federal buildings and $90 million for protection of endangered species, among other smaller but encouraging commitments, such as to the development of environment and sustainable development indicators are all seen as thanks to Paul Martin’s personal environmental background as Liberal Environment Critic in the early 1990s when his performance was always solid GOLD.
2) David Collenette (Liberal, Don Valley East, Ontario)
BRONZE FOR STAYING ON THE RAILS:
As Minister of Transport, David Collenette has acted to stem the erosion of passenger rail service in Canada. VIA Rail has a long way to go to live up to its potential as a National Eco-Dream, but Collenette’s efforts should be recognized with a BRONZE medal.
3) Ralph Goodale (Liberal, Wascana, Saskatchewan)
As Minister for Natural Resources, Ralph Goodale has converted the department from a block to progress on the climate change file to being a source of slow, but steady support for eventually doing something. Good preparatory work, while frustrating, is far better than active sabotage from NRCan. Goodale rates a BRONZE medal as well for listening to concerned communities on Canada’s Atlantic coast and announcing a public review of in-shore oil and gas leases. (The public review was announced on the Friday before the Sunday election call.)
BRONZE FOR ECO-REVIEW:
The announcement by Ralph Goodale of a public review of oil and gas leases earned a last minute BRONZE medal. Despite the fact that the provincial officials seem bent on converting the review process to a sham exercise, Eco-Olympic jury members saw Ralph Goodale’s contribution as genuine and award him a BRONZE medal.
4) Monte Solberg (Alliance, Medicine Hat, Alberta) -- Deborah Grey (Alliance, Edmonton North, Alberta)
BRONZE FOR TAGGING RADIO-ACTIVE MAN:
As a team, following coverage of the Liberals’ plan to give Turkey $1.5 billion to buy Canadian nuclear reactors, following an identical scheme to give China $1.5 billion to “buy” reactors, Solberg and Grey kept up a barrage in Question Period, pursuing Chretien as Radio-Active Man long after other Opposition Parties had abandoned the chase.
5) Paul Forseth (Alliance, New Westminster-Coquitlam-Burnaby, British Columbia)
BRONZE FOR THE ENDANGERED SPECIES DASH: A former Alliance environment critic, Paul Forseth took a serious look at the issue and responded with reasonable positions to protect species at risk. A vast difference from his team-mate Rahim Jaffer, who was disqualified from this year’s Eco-Olympics, Forseth wins BRONZE.
THE FOLLOWING COMPETITORS WERE DISQUALIFIED AS FAILING THE PRELIMINARY DRUG SCREENING (DREADFUL, REGRESSIVE, UN-GREEN) :
Unfortunately, as all too often happens in Olympic competition, some competitors bring disgrace to their teams through elimination in the DRUG screening. The Eco-Olympics are no different. Here, there is no allegation of illegal substances. The screening identifies competitors whose anti-environmental words and actions are a serious impediment to the Eco-Olympics. .
Rahim Jaffer (Alliance, Edmonton-Strathcona, Alberta)
Environment Critic for the Alliance, Rahim Jaffer makes George W. Bush look like an eco-hero. When the Standing Committee on the Environment issued a report calling for protection of Canadian children from dangerous chemicals, Jaffer held a press conference with chemical manufacturers. He was recently quoted as saying not meeting Kyoto “would not be the end of the world.” In fact, it may well be. Jaffer’s personal views and actions are more regressive than previous Alliance critics were. He fails the DRUG test.
Jean Chretien (Liberal, Saint-Maurice, Quebec)
The Prime Minister has blocked his team-mates in attempts to bring home Eco-GOLD for the Liberal Team. Promises in Red Book 1 and 2, made by smart and committed folks within Team Grit have been sabotaged by Captain Jean. Reducing Greenhouse Gases by 20% promised in Red Book 1 was dumped when Chretien spoke in the oil patch shortly after the 1993 election.
to protect endangered species, promised in Red Books and Throne Speeches
have not materialized, and amendments to C-65 passed by the Liberal majority
in the House committee were undone by the Prime Minister’s Office in 1996
just before the last time a species bill died on the order paper. The anti-environmental
interventions by the Team Captain are too numerous to mention in this abbreviated
format, but here is a listing of the major failures and broken promises
that lead to Jean Chretien failing his preliminary DRUG screening:
Team Captain has undermined his champions. Despite his reputation for allowing his team a chance to run their own races, Chretien keeps interfering with his environment ministers, tying their shoelaces together. It is embarrassing when the team captain fails the DRUG test. If Chretien gets a new mandate, let’s clean up DRUGs and see some progress.
The first-ever Eco-Olympics followed the following process. A call for nominations went out to all the major political parties, as well as broadly through the electronic networks of the environmental movement. Nominations were reviewed and controversial medals contested through the sharing of draft medal lists and DRUG elimination. The primary responsibility for the Eco-Olympics Project rested with the Sierra Club of Canada. The following groups and organizations joined in supporting the public release, although many more participated: International Fund for Animal Welfare, Citizens for Alternatives to Pesticides, Canadians Against Pesticides, Campaign for Pesticide Reduction, Campaign for Nuclear Phaseout,
Contributors included: Sierra Youth Coalition, Saskatchewan Eco Network, CPAWS, Sierra Legal Defense Fund, Petitcodiac Riverkeeper, Conservation Council of New Brunswick
Copyright Sierra Club of Canada