March 30, 2012 (Ottawa) - Nature Canada released the following statement regarding Thursday's release of the federal budget:
Yesterday, the federal government released a budget that makes it easier to rush headlong into potentially damaging industrial projects, makes it harder for Canadians to have a say about major development in their own backyard, and risks the things Canadians depend on for their health and safety – water, food, air and ecosystems.
This weakened environmental oversight will apply not only to future projects, but to those currently being assessed, such as the Northern Gateway Pipeline. Changing the rules mid-process like this will not result in smarter, safer development, but in the opposite. At risk is one of the most important rainforest and marine environments in the north Pacific.
This budget does propose $50 million over two years to support the implementation of the Species at Risk Act, which is important for protecting our most vulnerable wildlife. However, Nature Canada is particularly concerned about plans to amend the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations that expands a loophole in the Fisheries Act. Now, diamond and coal mining companies will join metal mining companies in being allowed to dump toxic waste into Canada’s living lakes.
The federal government’s number one job is to protect the health and safety of Canadian citizens. By issuing a budget that clearly favours the interests of industry over a healthy environment, this government isn’t fulfilling that primary role.
Instead, the government is removing the safety net that Canadians have come to expect from our environmental laws, at the expense of our communities, ecosystems and long-term economy.
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