TORONTO AND OTTAWA— Liberal Environment critic Kirsty Duncan made the following statement today on Stephen Harper’s decision to gut regulations and abdicate the federal government’s responsibilities to perform rigorous environmental impact assessments for natural resource projects:
“Under the guise of ‘streamlining,’ the federal government is attempting to excise itself from the environmental review process, leaving provinces to fend for themselves. This is convenient for the Conservatives, who continue to gut Environment Canada of its scientists and environmental experts, who are now expected to perform the same work with less, and within newly imposed rigid timeframes.”
Liberal Energy and Natural Resources critic David McGuinty continued:
“This appears to be more about the fast-tracking of federal government revenues than serious and important regulatory reform. The downloading of environmental assessments to provinces, the imposition of arbitrary timelines, the censoring of independent voices in the hearings process – these all amount to an incoherent plan buried in a budget bill so as not to see the light of day. In that regard, I am calling on the government to introduce separate legislation to deal with these issues and immediately refer that legislation to a House of Commons Legislative Committee.
Vesting the decision making power for natural resources projects in a single Minister or Cabinet is a dangerous power grab which can only compromise an objective and evidence-based approach to the exploitation of our natural resources.”