the feds have pretty thick skins when it comes to criticism of their environmental track record. But an internal document obtained by Friends of the Earth through the Access To Information Act has the feds' eco bureaucrats blushing with embarrassment.
It reveals that only 120 eco crimes were successfully prosecuted by the feds between 1989 and 99.
The document rates the environment ministry's own enforcement efforts as "falling short of fulfilling departmental responsibility... and not providing adequate protection to the public."
Those are biting words -- so biting that the head of the ministry's enforcement division, Susan Mailer, rather than the usual media spokespeople in the communications branch, has been handling the questions on this one.
To hear Mailer tell it, discretion is the better part of enforcement.
"We don't send a ticket to everyone who speeds," Mailer says, using a traffic-cop analogy.
"We take action where action is warranted."
Friends head Beatrice Olivastri says not enough action is being taken. She expects the ministry to do even less now that the coast guard and navy, both enforcement partners, have announced they'll be scaling back their eco efforts at sea. EDM