Canada's core values being eroded

The Gaette
Date de la référence: 
25 May, 2012

Canada's incredible natural beauty and wildlife along with our multiculturalism and social responsibility were at the core of the Canadian character. Today, this country is fast becoming a driving proponent of all that is leading our world into both environmental and economic decline as well as social disparity for aboriginal people and younger generations. How did this change in Canada's core values happen?

The Cohen Commission's inquiry into the decline of the Fraser River salmon revealed scientific evidence has been blocked which shows contagious disease traveling from farmed fish to wild salmon.

Nevertheless, the latest federal bill makes significant changes to the Fisheries Act before the national Fraser River Commission reports with their recommendations in June.

The International Food and Inspection Agency has been ordered to close its Research and Inspection Office in Saanich, B.C., where imported plants were tested for disease and pests before entry to Canada.

The 2012 budget eliminated more than 11,000 staff workers, notably biologists and veterinarians and Canadian parks staff.

Budget cuts have recently led to moving B.C.'s command centre for oil spill response to Montreal. This reduces science, oversight and on-site knowledge. Who will provide research to protect our wild fish, our food, our oceans and our public health?

The latest Bill C-38, disguised as an adjunct budget bill, makes changes and eliminates decades of environmental protection including: Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, Fisheries Act, Navigable Waters Protection Act, Species at Risk Act, Canadian Environmental Protection Act, National Round Table on Environment and Economy Act, Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act. This bill includes a general rule that allows cabinet to overrule independent committees, such as the National Energy Board.

These major decisions can now made by politicians, rather than by the scientists and professionals forming the policy that created these laws.

The biggest travesty from these recent changes may be tacit approval of the Northern Gateway project, bringing two pipelines full of the most toxic oil and bitumen from Alberta's tarsands to B.C.'s coast. These Enbridge pipelines will cross more than 900 streams and rivers to transfer their toxic fuel to tankers plying Hecate Strait - the most dangerous coastal waters in the world.

Enbridge is already responsible for numerous oil spills and is known for its lax environmental protection. To see a realistic and beautiful photostory of the area and the project, check out TEDxVictoria-Garth-Lenz-Pro-vinc What about the added carbon from extracting, transporting, and burning this fossil fuel and creating more climate change?

What about the intact natural areas, with their long-term ecosystem goods (forest products, tourism, recreation, etc.) and ecosystem services (clean air, water, flood control, pest control, etc.)? What about the areas and resources being extracted now? Shouldn't some of this be left for our children to decide on and use - sustainably?

It seems our current government thinks we are running out of time to sell everything fast. "Oil-hungry markets won't wait." Sounds like the values of a bankrupt business, not those of the Canada I once felt proud of.

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