Adjournment Proceedings – The Environment

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for his comments. I believe that oil drilling in the Canadian Arctic is one of the most dangerous projects in the history of our country.

I look at this in light of the independent study by the World Wildlife Fund that found that:

Mounting an effective response to a major oil spill in the Arctic is presently not possible due to enormous environmental challenges, a lack of capacity and the severe limitations of current response methods in ice-covered waters. 

The same report identified a so-called response gap whereby, due to the Arctic’s remoteness and extreme weather there is also a high percentage of time when no response, however ineffective, could even be attempted.

We need to have a precautionary approach. We need to develop a strategy for the prevention of oil spills. I assert again that Canada should use its leadership as chair of the Arctic Council to pursue a matter for an oil spill prevention strategy for the Arctic and not be complacent.

Greg Rickford: Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, our government fully recognizes the importance of economic growth and environmental protection. Canada has robust environmental legislation and standards, a tough safety regime and experienced independent regulators to oversee offshore activities.

The National Energy Board is a world-class regulatory body. Our government is convinced that the board has the appropriate tools to safely and effectively regulate any proposed oil and gas activity in Canada’s Arctic. Our government is determined to realize the energy potential of the North, for the benefit of all Canadians.