Environment Commissioner tells the truth Stephen Harper doesn’t want to hear

Environment Commissioner Scott Vaughan today released his report on Canada’s climate action and progress in cleaning up federal contaminated sites.

“Dealing with climate and toxic waste sites, the Harper Conservatives are failing Canadians,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada. “It is clear in the evidence as audited by this branch of the office of the Auditor General that there is no plan in place to meet even the reduced, lax targets set by the Prime Minister to reduce greenhouse gases by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. Having heard the mantra (like a broken record) in the House of Commons claiming that ‘this government has a sensible regulatory sector by sector approach,’ finally someone is telling it like it is — Canada has no plan to meet its own climate target, having regulated only 2 sectors, with no plan to deal with rising emissions from the oil and gas sector.”

The Environment Commissioner also issued a report on the federal plan to address the on-going liability of federal contaminated sites. In 2005, the previous government established a $3.5 billion fund for clean-up of federal toxic sites. In 2005, it was thought there were 8,500 sites, now 22,000 have been identified. Just looking at the earlier identified sites, there is a $500 million short-fall.  Add in the additional 14,000 or so new sites, and it is clear we are falling behind. Instead of providing new funding, there have been funding cuts.

“We cannot ignore environmental liabilities, whether due to the climate crisis or toxic waste sites.  The Harper Conservatives must accept these recommendations, stop pursing the anti-nature agenda of the omnibus budget bill and make a dramatic mid-course correction. Economic health is completely dependent on ecological health,” said May.