On Environment Week, Government of Canada missing in action

Today is World Oceans Day, Canadian National Clean Air Day, and both World Environment Week and Canadian Environment Week. Today the Green Party of Canada is noting the sad irony that the first federal budget to be tabled during Environment Week is also the weakest environmental budget in recent history.

“Legislation requires the Government of Canada to mark Environment Week. Apparently the Government feels their obligation ends with an Environment Canada press release full of empty platitudes,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands. “This week’s federal budget certainly contained almost nothing for the environment.”

The federal budget included funds to extend the EcoEnergy Retrofit program, although only for one year, and to clean up toxic materials at federal sites. Notably absent were any resources or plan for Canada to meet its emissions reduction obligations. Ironically, the budget contained measures to deal with specific impacts – such as building a highway from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk to replace the ice roads that are melting away – without acknowledging or dealing with the root cause: climate change.

“The environment was missing in the budget, and on environmental issues the Government of Canada is missing in action,” said Ms. May. “Perhaps we need new legislation that requires our government to mark Environment Week with action, not just words.”

On World Oceans Day, the Green Party is also restating the concerns it raised in May about endangered fish species like the Bluefin Tuna. The Green Party is renewing its call for the Government of Canada to respect the advice of its own scientific advisory panel and not put the economic interests of fisheries ahead of the well-being of an entire species.