When he talks, sensible people listen.
This blog post by Suzuki and Ian Hanington hit my in box this morning: Environmental rules should be better, not easier
Few people would argue against making environmental review processes and regulations more efficient — as long as they’re effective. But changes announced in the recent federal budget don’t do that. Instead, they make it easier for the federal government and industry to push through projects that could harm the environment and the economy, and limit the ability of ordinary Canadian citizens to have a say in matters of national importance.
Eliminating environmental reviews for some projects altogether, shifting responsibility to the provinces, and severely cutting back on staff and agencies that provide management and information are not ways to make processes more efficient; they’re ways to accelerate approval of major projects, making the short-term interests of industry a higher priority than protecting the air, land, and water we all need to stay healthy.
We all want a free and democratic country with a healthy environment and strong economy. The best way to guarantee that is to encourage scientific research and knowledge, open discourse, and respect for a range of viewpoints. There are ways we can improve efficiency of decision-making, such as clearer environmental rules. Sometimes — but not always — it may take longer to reach a decision, but at least we’d be confident it is made in the best interests of all Canadians.
It’s a terrific and compelling call to do environmental reviews the right way — the way that maximizes human values and not just economic ones. And sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the path that the current Canadian government is following.
For those that are interested, I will keep on doing these “Canadian War on Science” posts intermittently. I have ones coming up highlight issues with the fisheries and with arctic research. And more, actually. Sadly this particular government is a bonanza for this sort of thing.