Vote for Nature, part 4: Prevent Environmental Disasters

We all know how horrible environmental disasters can be. Massive oil spills, mining waste accidents, ducks dying in oil sands tailings ponds, and the mounting impacts of climate change are just a few examples. These incidents can have enormous personal and economic consequences as well, closing fisheries, damaging human health, and sometimes costing lives.

This is why the federal government has legal powers to protect Canadians by preventing these kinds of environmental disasters before they ever happen. Environmental Assessments are supposed to study the potential environmental harm of proposed projects and find less risky alternatives. The Fisheries Act is supposed to prevent activities that harm freshwater and marine fish habitat. Canada should be doing its fair share to combat climate change by acting decisively at home, negotiating constructively on the international stage and helping the most vulnerable to adapt.

Instead the recommendations from too many Environmental Assessments have been ignored, and even the law itself has been weakened. Canadian lakes are handed over to private mining companies to use as dumps for mining waste. Instead of acting at home and abroad to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, our government continues to subsidize oil and gas companies, with pipeline megaprojects now looking for handouts too.

It’s time for the federal government to stand for good planning, and live up to its responsibility to prevent environmental disasters so current and future generations of Canadians can continue to benefit from Canada’s natural wealth. This means strengthening the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and closing the loophole in the Fisheries Act that lets mines dump waste in our lakes. It means supporting the development of renewable energy, and advocating a global treaty that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Ask your candidates:

How will you do a better job of using federal regulations and environmental assessments to prevent environmental disasters?

What will you do to end dirty subsidies?

What is your party’s plan to really move Canada to a green economy powered by renewable energy