Elizabeth May sees good and bad news in latest CESD report

OTTAWA – The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development’s report released today examines various departments: Finance, Border Security Services, Fisheries and Oceans, and Environment Canada covering aquatic invasive species, protecting fish from mining effluence and both tax and non-tax subsidies of fossil fuels.

“There’s good news and bad news in the report,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). “The good news is that Commissioner Julie Gelfand concluded that for decades, successive federal governments have failed to reach their targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and that the government is not ready to adapt to a changing climate. I agree with her conclusion. We must act now.

“The Commissioner’s report also established that the Department of Finance did not take into consideration the three dimensions of sustainability – economic, social and environmental – when determining the inefficiencies of tax subsidies for the fossil fuel industry,” added Ms. May. “This is as unacceptable to the Green Party as it is to the Commissioner. The good news is that the Commissioner has recommended that Finance Canada develop guidelines that clearly define these three dimensions of sustainability when determining the inefficiency of these subsidies.”

The report also found that the Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada do not effectively make public the aquatic environmental effects of mining sites. “This means that Canadians are unable to identify if effluent from a mine in their particular region is impacting fish and aquatic habitat,” said Green Party Deputy Leader Daniel Green.

“However, it was encouraging to note that Environment Canada is inspecting mines in Quebec at an unprecedented rate. Unfortunately mines in Ontario are four times less likely to be inspected than those in Quebec. With the new Ford government in place, we would hope that Environment Canada will step up inspections of mines in Ontario.

“The report also found that there are insufficient inspections, procedures and training to deal with the problem of invasive species,” added Mr. Green. “Most of the funds allocated are dealing with only two species, lamprey and Asian carp. Funding for species such as the green crab is lacking, resulting in the unchecked spread of those invasive species.”

Ms. May said: “I would personally like to thank Commissioner Gelfand for the exhaustive effort that she and her team have put into compiling this report over the last five years,” concluded Ms. May. “Their work has helped to identify many of the environmental problems that exist and will help to ensure that governments are held more accountable in protecting Canada’s environment and preparing for the climate emergency we are facing.”