Press release, Equiterre, March 29, 2012
Ottawa - The budget 2012 presented today by the Harper Government represents a serious set-back for environmental protection and the right of Canadians to a safe future for our shared environment.
"In a budget that seems to have been written for, and even by, big oil interests, the Harper government is gutting the environmental protections that Canadians have depended on for decades to safeguard our families and nature from pollution, toxic contamination and other environmental problems”, declared Steven Guilbeault of Équiterre.
Budget 2012 will introduce legislation that will reduce the timeline and the scope of environmental impact assessments, which will severely limit the ability of the public and environmental organisations to have their voices heard in the evaluation of these large projects.
"As if this were not enough, Minister Flaherty has declared that the new legislation would apply retroactively to projects currently under hearings such as the controversial pipeline project Northern Gateway by the company Enbridge. The proposed changes will likely mean that hundreds of people and organisations that were hoping to be heard on this project will no longer by allowed to do so," added Guilbeault.
The Harper government is also shutting down the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. Furthermore, the total program spending on environmental related activities only represents $75 million out of spending programs of more than $180 billion. "There is no more room for doubt in terms of this government's total disregard for science and objective policy advise, with the slashing of the NRTEE, it could not be clearer that this government will silence anyone concerned about the environment," explains Guilbeault. "These cuts come while big oil seemingly continues to receive well over a billion a year in tax payer handouts", he added.
"It’s a sad day for all those people who care about our health and the state of our environment," concluded Guilbeault.
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