Stephen Harper is ditching Canada’s Environmental Assessment Act.
Q: What should I be doing for World Environment Week?
A: Every good party needs a theme. This UN-sponsored World Environment Day (and week of global events), the theme is Green Economy: Does It Include You? In this country, though, that should really be Green Economy: A Saboteur's How-To Guide.
Oh, sure, Environment Canada's site talks a good game about how the week is the "perfect time to celebrate our achievements and initiatives in tackling climate change and reducing air pollution." Funny, not a word about Canada officially killing Kyoto this year. And EC has yet to mention how the feds' omnibus budget Bill C-38 repeals the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and replaces it with the Amazing Vanishing Environmental Protection Act.
Yes, just in time for the week's festivities, our finance minister is critically weakening enviro assessments, serving up over 1,000 pink slips to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and over 600 to Parks Canada, as well as exempting pipelines from our Navigational Water Act, easing up coastal protection laws to make way for more offshore drilling and snuffing out the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.
You may have noticed that eco websites like ecoholic.ca went black on Monday, June 4, to protest these cuts as well as magical new funding ($8 mil in total) for Revenue Canada audits of any enviro orgs that make noise about such cuts.
But just because the feds are giving the planet the finger this Environment Week doesn't mean we should give up on the global green holiday. For one, send a lovely seasonal greeting card to Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty, won't you, asking him to stop selling us out (cc-ing your local MP) at leadnow.ca/stop-the-sell-out.
Once that's out of the way, join in more pleasant Canadian Environment Week activities. Commuter challenges are going on all week, so hop on the bus, Gus, at Commuterchallenge.ca. And in honour of Clean Air Day (which was June 6), join Ontario doctors and nurses in telling your MPP you want to speed up the phase-out of lung-polluting, asthma-inducing coal ASAP.
Support more clean, green renewable energy by signing up for Bullfrog power (bullfrogpower.com), and, if you've got the cash, invest in a $1,000 low-risk Community Solar Bond, which earns 5 per cent annually for a five-year term (solarbonds.ca).
Also happening this jam-packed week: World Oceans Day (Friday, June 8). The feds may be gutting research into oceanic pollution, leaving marine life high and dry, but Environment Canada says it's the perfect day "to remember the critical role of oceans worldwide," so why not send off an email or two reminding them to do the same (action.davidsuzuki.org/oceans).
Otherwise, do your own part by conserving water (try to waste less food, it has a massive water footprint), not flushing antibacterial triclosan or hair-smoothing cyclomethicone (both official eco toxins) down the drain, sticking to greenlit Seachoice- and Oceanwise-approved seafood (seachoice.org) and avoiding ocean-polluting farmed salmon and eco-destructive cans of tuna (greenpeace.org/tunaranking).
Oh, and if you want to wish Stephen Harper a happy Environment Week, reminding him that Canadians still care about the planet and will remember his fouling of it come election time, here's his email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.