May 8th, 2012

Conservatives putting economy, environmment at risk

Environment Commissioner condemns lax environmental assessments, failed climate targets

OTTAWA – A report tabled today by Canada’s Environment Commissioner blasted the Conservatives for pitting the economy against the environment and warned that government failures will threaten Canada’s economy and its environment for generations to come.

Commissioner Scott Vaughan said that businesses across Canada understand that protecting the environment makes good business sense. New Democrats slammed Stephen Harper for blocking similar progress and threatening the sustainability of our economy and our environment.

“The report makes it clear that Stephen Harper just doesn’t get what is takes to build a sustainable, 21st century economy,” said NDP Environment Critic Megan Leslie. “The Conservatives are stuck in the past and future generations will have to pay for his mistakes.”

The report outlined how the government has failed to meet Kyoto Protocol targets – and will miss its own weak 2020 targets. It also linked thousands of contaminated sites across Canada to a lack of environmental assessments.

“It’s incredible that in the very same week the Conservatives are trying to dismantle environmental assessments – and ram their omnibus budget bill through Parliament – we’re reminded of the urgent need for these rules to protect the health of Canadians,” said Deputy NDP Environment Critic Anne Minh-Thu Quach.

Leslie blasted the government for claiming that the Kyoto Protocol was bad for Canada’s economy without even bothering to find out what its own weaker targets would cost.

“The Environment Minister presented an economic doomsday scenario if we stuck with Kyoto. Yet the government is clinging to its own failed plan without even knowing the costs,” Leslie said. “They are making up policy on the fly and refusing to come clean on costs. We’ve seen this story before.”