OTTAWA – A leaked report from the international Arctic Council underscores the need for the Conservative government to stop undermining adequate domestic oil spill response strategies and to instead embrace Canada’s imminent leadership role as Chair of the Council, and implement the necessary policies to protect Arctic communities and waters.
“A spill in Arctic waters would be a catastrophe for Canadian Arctic fisheries and ecosystems,” said NDP Environment Critic Megan Leslie. “Conservatives might say they are taking action, but the truth is, they are eradicating important protections.”
A copy of the Arctic Council’s draft oil spill response plan, which was leaked earlier today, asks members to establish preparedness programs, communications plans, coordination strategies and other oil spill response measures. This is in sharp contrast to the Conservative changes made in recent years to environmental protection legislation and to the Conservatives’ refusal to address the inadequacies of off-shore drilling regulations and environmental liability legislation.
“Canada is set to assume the chair of the Arctic Council this year, and we won’t be able to say we’re walking the walk. That’s an obvious failure of leadership,” said NDP Critic for Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency Dennis Bevington. “It’s pretty shocking Canada can’t even meet the reasonable minimum standards that Canadians expect of their government on any of these files.”