David Suzuki at the Georgia Straight examines the recent federal move to streamline the environmental review process and determines that, despite claims, the government’s actions will not make the process more efficient.
Instead, the changes announced in the federal budget will make it easier for industry to push through projects that could harm both the environment and the economy, while limiting the ability of ordinary Canadians to have a voice in matters of national importance. Suzuki argues that the best way to guarantee the development of a free and democratic country with a healthy environment and strong economy is to encourage scientific research, open discourse, and respect for a range of viewpoints. He supports efficient decision-making and clear environmental rules, yet does not see how this is possible with current federal policies. That is, severe reductions in staff and agencies that provide management and information do not make processes more efficient; they simply eliminate the processes. This, however, leads to a rise in opposition in other forms, such as legal proceedings by First Nations groups, that, in the end, will prohibit the development of environmentally sound economic projects. Suzuki thus advocates an inclusive process to ensure a vibrant future for Canada. (link to article)