The Harper Government™ guts the environment

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M. Spector M. Spector's picture
The Harper Government™ guts the environment

Rabble poll: [url=]Harper's war against the environment continues[/url]

[url= deals threaten human rights and the environment in Canada and China[/url], by Maude Barlow

[url= 2012: Good for Big Oil, bad for people and the environment[/url], by Andrea Harden-Donahue

[url= budget levies frontal assault on environment, First Nations[/url], by Andy Crosby and Crystel Hajjar

[url=]On the environment, Canada is a rogue state[/url], by Murray Dobbin

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url= the Conservatives stole environmental protection[/url], by Elizabeth May

The single biggest assault on environmental law was tabled last Thursday morning in the House – to nary a whimper. No front page headlines. No media interviews for Opposition parties for the major networks. True, we will likely hear more outrage as people wade through the 428 page Budget Implementation Bill, C-38. But, for now, the Harper Conservatives have stolen environmental protection in plain sight....

It had never been mentioned that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act was to be repealed; and that an entirely new act of 67 pages would be tucked in to the Budget Act. No longer will there be predictable “triggers” for federal reviews. And if there ever is another federal review, it will only examine “environmental effects” of a very limited nature — fish and migratory birds; that’s it.

The Harper Conservatives have tried to construct the narrowest possible view of federal Constitutional responsibilities for the environment, and ceded all else to the provinces. The words, covering all the environmental effects to be reviewed in any future EA – “within the legislative authority of Parliament” – never appeared in the previous Act. The same words appear in section 4, the Purposes of the Act, “to protect the components of the environment that are within the legislative authority of Parliament from significant environmental effects caused by a designated project.”

None of this was described in advance. It creates a new bizarre environmental assessment law....

It is a wholesale re-writing of all areas of federal jurisdiction over the natural environment.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Andrew Coyne wrote:

Bill C-38, introduced in the House last week, calls itself, innocuously, “An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures.” The bill does implement certain budget provisions, it is true: for example, the controversial changes to Old Age Security. But “and other measures” rather understates matters — to understate the matter.

The bill runs to more than 420 pages. It amends some 60 different acts, repeals half a dozen, and adds three more, including a completely rewritten Canadian Environmental Assessment Act....

The environmental chapters are the most extraordinary. Along with the new Act, they give cabinet broader power to override decisions of the National Energy Board, shorten the list of protected species, and abolish the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act — among “other measures.” For much of this the first public notice was its inclusion in the bill.

So this is not remotely a budget bill, despite its name. It is what is known as an omnibus bill. If you want to know how far Parliament has fallen, how little real oversight it now exercises over government, this should give you a clue....

Not only does this make a mockery of the confidence convention, shielding bills that would otherwise be defeatable within a money bill, which is not: It makes it impossible to know what Parliament really intended by any of it. We’ve no idea whether MPs supported or opposed any particular bill in the bunch, only that they voted for the legislation that contained them. There is no common thread that runs between them, no overarching principle; they represent not a single act of policy, but a sort of compulsory buffet.

To be sure, a government with a majority would likely have little difficulty passing them separately, so obediently do MPs now submit to the party whip. But there is something quite alarming about Parliament being obliged to rubber-stamp the government’s whole legislative agenda at one go.

Moreover, it utterly eviscerates the committee process, until now regarded as one of the last useful roles left to MPs. How can one committee, in this case Finance, properly examine all of these diverse measures, with all of the many areas of expertise they require, especially in the time allotted to them?...

But the increasing use of these omnibills extends Parliament’s powerlessness in all directions: it has become, if you will, omnimpotent — a ceremonial body, little more. What is worse, it cannot even seem to rouse itself to its own defence.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url= Omnibus budget bill will dismantle federal environmental policy[/url]

The NDP said the changes to environmental rules are “reckless” and more far-reaching than the government had previously let on.

“It’s hard to grasp the audacity of the Harper government when it comes to the environment,” said NDP environment critic Megan Leslie, adding that Ottawa will be “rubber-stamping” pipeline approvals in the future.

“Bill C-38 repeals the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) and replaces it with an entirely new act with a very narrow, limited approach,” says Green Party Leader, Elizabeth May. “CEAA will no longer assess impacts on bears, caribou, beavers, forests and more. Only impacts relating to fish, aquatic species and migratory birds will be considered.”

Of the 400 pages in this omnibus budget bill, 150 of them deal with environmental regulations and policy. Critics say such sweeping changes should not be rushed through.

"It is an affront to democracy to bury such far-reaching changes to laws Canadians depend upon to help protect our environment in the budget implementation bill in order to avoid public scrutiny," Greenpeace spokesman Keith Stewart wrote in an email.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url= Implementation Act is Gutting of Environmental Laws in Disguise[/url]

"Most of Bill C-38 has nothing to do with fiscal matters or what a budget is supposed to do. Instead, it attacks environmental legislation, amending the Environmental Assessment Act, the Fisheries Act, the Species at Risk Act, and repealing the Kyoto Implementation Act, along with cancelling the National Round Table on Environment and Economy," said [Elizabeth] May.

Putting all this in the Budget Implementation Act (Bill C-38) means that none of the environmental laws being changed will ever go to the Environment Committee or be examined by environmental experts.

"This should have been called the ‘we don't care about the environment' act," said May.


M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url= Harper budget a disaster for the environment[/url]. Interview with Gwen Barlee, policy director for the Wilderness Committee.  

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Just saw on CBC that the Cons are limiting debate on the bill - especially the environment sections.

Elizabeth May on Facebook:

There we go: Time allocation moved today on C-38. The Harper conservatives have moved to limit debate on the destruction of Canada's environmental laws.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Elizabeth May on

[url= C-38? You have to be kidding.[/url]


Jobs for Friends of the Conservative Party since 2006 Quite a few cushy job slots for Mulroney era hacks and current hangers on to environmental roundtables and patronage appointments galore.

The Patronage List tracks Crown appointments announced biweekly in the Canada Gazette and published regularly in the Orders-in-Council. It does not include reappointments, or appointments filled by civil servants, military officers, judges, etc. In this way, it tracks only those jobs which are given to those outside of government, theoretically on the basis of merit.You get on the list when you appear to have a connection to the Conservative Party of Canada or its provincial allies - the Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Atlantic PC parties, the ADQ, the Saskatchewan Party, and the BC Liberal Party.

The environment is pretty well screwed with these corporate-friendly appointments.


Buddy Kat

What gets me is this was all predicted before Harper won his first MINORITY as their platform..It was no secret back then and even MacLeans mag had a forum discussion and article on what the cons had planned for the environment. People were warned yet they still voted for them....which was the gutting of environmental assessment regulations ...under a Harper conservative regime you and your family's health , safety and life are nothing but a nusiance, obstruction, and irritant to them and their oil/gas friends.

Now we watch and listen to reports on how the budget wasn't as bad as people say and how the Harper regime isn't near what people warned about...I guess we'll know after the next accident or environmental catastrophe...the media for sure has to take some blame for being so blatantly ignorant.

200 fraudulent riding wins says they don't even have a mandate to legislate anything much less removing safegaurds that protect YOU from this terroristic behaviour.






New New


Mexico's senate unanimously passes climate change law
Mexico just passed a historic, ambitious law on climate change. All political parties worked together to make it happen - a stark contrast to what has happened in Canada.

And that country's leaders are corrupt. Doesn't say much for Ottawa or Canada's senate. What's afta NAFTA?

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

The international [url=]carbon-trading marketeers[/url] are calling the Mexican law "modest", which is about what you would expect given the political situation there.

sknguy II

Buddy Kat wrote:

...Now we watch and listen to reports on how the budget wasn't as bad as people say and how the Harper regime isn't near what people warned about...I guess we'll know after the next accident or environmental catastrophe...the media for sure has to take some blame for being so blatantly ignorant.

Yup... and at this juncture it's a moot point what people thought "manage the economy" meant to them. Erode the funding then go for the regulatory jugular. Yah know... austerity sure seems like it's been a decades long process, or processes. It feels like it's become a part of our socialial psyche now. People can't seem to see how governments are edging closer to joining us in the "99%" club as the "1%" siphons what's left.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

On June 4, 2012, join in the [url= blackout[/url] to protest the Harper Government's gutting of the environment.

ETA: [url= Suzuki's appeal to support June 4[/url] -




M. Spector wrote:

The international [url=]carbon-trading marketeers[/url] are calling the Mexican law "modest", which is about what you would expect given the political situation there.


It says here:

In 2009, the United States attempted, unsuccessfully, to pass a similar climate change bill.

Meanwhile our absentee corporate landlords continue polluting hell out of Canada and exporting profits by the truckload non-stop 24-7. It's as if a banana republic only a bit cooler. And the Polar bears? Still homeless.

Day O!

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=]Bill C-38: Environment Devastation Act[/url]

The Top 5 Reasons why C-38 will devastate Canada’s environment

  1. It repeals the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and introduces a weaker version, without a single day of hearings before the environment committee.
  2. It removes protection of endangered species and their habitat, when approving pipeline projects, by amending the Species at Risk Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act.
  3. It guts the Fisheries Act by removing provisions for habitat protection.
  4. It repeals the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act.
  5. It eliminates the National Round Table on Environment and Economy.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Quebec Innu Want to Stop Muskrat Falls Hydro

"Quebec Innu are asking the Federal Court to reverse approval given by the federal government for the construction of new hydroelectric dams on the Lower Churchill in Labrador. The group says the federal government largely ignored the August 2011 advice of a review panel.

According to the panel, 'The project would be unlikely to deliver benefits to Aboriginal communities in Quebec and the project's impacts on their current use of land and resources for traditional purposes would be adverse.' The Quebec Innu group said the proposed hydro-electric dam at Muskrat Falls would create a reservoir 60 kilometres long and would flood an additional 36 square kilometres.

The Innu of Ekuanitshit, who live at the mouth of the La Romaine River in Quebec, said that 'since time immemorial' they have used the territory extending to the Churchill River in Labrador.."


Mulcair Says NDP's Quebec Caucus Fully Behind Muskrat Falls

"Mulcair said he not only was still fully behind a federal loan guarantee for Muskrat - which the federal Conservatives announced before the 2011 election  - but that the measure had the full support of the NDP's 58 - member Quebec caucus..."

NDP-Cons F**k the Ekuanitshit Innu




The federal government has confirmed what the rumour mill suspected: it shut down an arm's length, independent advisory group because it didn't like the advice it was getting on addressing climate change.

Funding for the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) was cut in the last budget, giving the group just one year to live. Since 1988, it has been producing research on how business and government policies can work together for sustainable development -- including the idea of introducing carbon taxes.

Environment Minister Peter Kent had initially said the reason for the closure was because such research can now be easily accessed through the Internet, and through universities and other think tanks.

But Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Monday the shuttering of the round table had more to do with the content of the research itself.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

The killing of NRTEE is payback for a [url= report it issued last August[/url] about the failures and lies of the Harper Government™ on climate change policies.

The interesting thing is the NRTEE is hardly a radical environmental group. [url=]Its members[/url] – all Harper Government™ appointees - are pretty much grounded in the conservative mainstream of Canadian public and business life.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

NDPP wrote:

Mulcair Says NDP's Quebec Caucus Fully Behind Muskrat Falls

"Mulcair said he not only was still fully behind a federal loan guarantee for Muskrat - which the federal Conservatives announced before the 2011 election  - but that the measure had the full support of the NDP's 58 - member Quebec caucus..."

Wow, that's pretty shameful. You'd expect Mulcair not to be so tone deaf with aboriginal issues.


ETA: I'm going to be emailing my MP for answers on this.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Canada continues to add to its ecological debt through unsustainable consumption of its natural resources, says a new report released Tuesday by an international conservation group.

The [url= Planet Report[/url], released by WWF International, said the footprint of the average Canadian is 2 1/2 times greater than that of the planet's average citizen. More than half of that Canadian footprint is coming from the consumption of fossil fuels, such as gasoline and the resulting heat-trapping gases that cause global warming.



Let it be noted that it is grossly misleading to talk about the "average Canadian", as if we are all individual gluttons for carbon consumption. What the report refers to is of course the per capita carbon emissions of the whole country. That's just total emissions divided by population. The per capita figure includes each person's per capita share of the tar sands operation; all the mining and manufacturing and energy and agribusiness and military operations; all the aircraft, trucks, trains, automobiles, etc.; all the deforestation and land use changes, etc. In other words, most of the per capita footprint has nothing to do with individual consumption and emissions, but is due to industrial use of carbon, much of it from fossil sources.

The solution lies in system change. Personal lifestyle changes just don't cut it.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Environment Minister Peter Kent had initially said the reason for the closure was because such research can now be easily accessed through the Internet...

Yeah, who needs policy analysts when you can just use Google?


The round table's board is dominated by Conservative nominees, and is led by David McLaughlin, a former chief of staff to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

Last year, the advisory body showed in painstaking detail how it would be possible to impose a carbon tax, meet emissions targets, but also not be too far out of step with American policy at the same time.

McLaughlin has publicly disagreed with the argument that there are other sources of similar research the government can access.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Why the Budget Act is bad news for fish  :annoyed
With the introduction of Bill C-38, the Budget Implementation Bill, Canada is proposing changes to the Fisheries Act. These changes would remove the protection of some fish habitat from the Act. But without their habitat fish will not survive. It's that simple. And you don't need a degree in biology or logic to figure that one out.


The environmental cuts just keep on coming. 

Federal grants that have kept the Arctic environmental station running continuously since 2005 have run out, forcing the science team that runs PEARL to shut it down, at least temporarily. PEARL, the Polar Environmental Atmospheric Research Laboratory at the northern tip of Ellesmere Island runs this with funding from CFCAS, the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences. CFCAS projects, on everything from extreme weather to Prairie drought have now wound down — "just at a time when we require more intense, not less intense, research," says executive director Peltier, noting that the loss of CFCAS has "strongly diminished" the country's ability to assess what the future will be like.

The proposed elimination of a key federal business and environmental panel that delivered stern warnings about Canada's climate change policies will leave a ``policy vacuum'' in the country's economic development, according to a former CEO of the group.

Environmental programs intended to curb health threats will have their budgets slashed by nearly 15 per cent over the next three years -- a move the Opposition says makes the Conservatives look "delusional."  Overall, Environment Canada is bracing for cuts of $79.3 million over three years, dropping its budget to $918.3 million in 2014-15 from $997.6 this year ... One of the department's stated goals is to mitigate any harm pollution could cause to Canadians and their environment. Two of the programs designed to do exactly that -- one through controlling waste management, the other through monitoring greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality -- are seeing their budgets slashed by 14 per cent and 11 per cent respectively between now and 2015.

A spokes-man said the department was shifting toward using outside sources of research to avoid "duplication" on information that "already is obtained from credible sources". ... The federal government plans to break up a team of Environment Canada smokestack specialists that played a key role working with enforcement officers and industry to crack down on toxic pollution, a Postmedia News investigation has revealed. ... While Minister Peter Kent has acknowledged in a recent report tabled in Parliament that budget cuts were putting his department's scientific expertise and capacity to protect Canadians at risk, Environment Canada has said budget cuts will not have any impact on its core services.

The Union of Environment Workers has described the emissions research and measurement unit as a unique team that provides expertise that is not available from other sources.

Thomas Duck, an atmospheric scientist from Dalhousie University in Halifax, suggested the cuts would jeopardize the government's plans to create a credible monitoring plan for the oil-sands, which are needed to help boost the industry's environ-mental reputation on the inter-national stage with scientific evidence about its footprint.

"It's vandalism of our scientific capacity," said Duck. "Why announce a [oilsands-monitor-ing] plan and then undermine your own ability to implement it. So to me it suggests that they never had any intention to follow through on the [oilsands] plan and that it's for show only."

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Bill C-38: 'Being Pissed On By The Rich'

"Let me put this plainly. Bill C-38 is equivalent to being pissed on by the rich, and then being told to like it..."

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Deep Green Resistance Strategy to Save the Planet

"This book is about fighting back. The dominant culture - civilization - is killing the planet, and it is long past time for those of us who care about life on earth to begin taking the actions necessary to stop this culture from destroying every living thing.."


'Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just do not dare express themselves as we did.'  Sophie Schell - The White Rose Society

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

CBC is reporting that the RCMP says "radical environmentalism" is on the rise. No kidding! What would they expect with Harper as our Prime Minister and killing off environmental protections??? Undecided

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I doubt if there is much on the rise except right wing propaganda to justify the coming arrests of activists. The police are preparing in advance with messaging for the day the Cons order one of the pipelines to go forward. FN's communities in Canada, like elsewhere in the world, are the front lines of the environmental battle.  Don't forget we jail frail grandmothers in our democracy if they refuse to not protest not to mention whole band counsels. 

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Yes, I think we are in for nasty times ahead.

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Council of Canadians water campaigner Emma Lui and organizer Mark Calzavara posted an invoice to the front-door of Environment Minister Peter Kent's constituency office in Toronto this morning. The invoice highlights that it will cost the Harper government $50 million to close the Experimental Lakes Area freshwater research facility, while its operating costs are $2 million a year. Lui says, "We find it troubling that rather than providing funding for this critical research facility, the federal government would rather pay 25 times the operating costs upfront to shut it down." Calzavara adds, "The federal government is going to allow the decades of scientific data to be lost. Because of Harper’s political agenda, the public is losing out." The ELA is scheduled to be mothballed as of March 31.