Green Party Leader Elizabeth May reflects on the recent parliamentary session
(OTTAWA)--“We approach the halfway mark until the next election with a considerable sense of disillusionment in the Trudeau Administration. Even though it is hard to get things done while coping with an unpredictable U.S. president bent on sowing discord in any functional liberal democracy, staying on track with commitments to the Canadian people should remain a priority,” said Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May(MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands).
“Investing billions of taxpayer dollars in the 65-year-old Trans Mountain pipeline is a mistake of historic proportions. It commits the government to higher levels of spending to promote fossil fuels than the transition away from them. The Canadian government hasn’t nationalized a project of this sort since the late 1960s. It was a colossal waste of money then and it is now. Meanwhile, Kinder Morgan is laughing all way to the bank while Canadians will be stuck with an investment with no market and responsible for future dilbit spills anywhere along the 800 watercourses from the B.C. Alberta border to Burnaby and from there any spills into the Pacific-- a disaster science tells us we cannot clean up. Finance Minister Bill Morneau claims that the approval of the Trans Mountain expansion was accomplished under the most stringent process in Canadian history. However, the gutting of the environmental review process by Harper, the time limits and the inexperience of the NEB in conducting environmental reviews created the very worst federal review of a major project in Canadian history.”
“When Justin Trudeau became prime minister in 2015 and Catherine McKenna was appointed Minister of the Environment, I had high hopes that Canada could get its environmental policy back on track and become a climate leader. Signing the Paris Accord was a good start and the negotiations with the provinces on a carbon tax also suggested commitment. But the abandonment of the promise to improve our target over the one left behind by Harper, once described by Catherine McKenna as the “the floor” has become the ceiling. The government has not yet worked out a carbon pricing plan with the provinces and has broken its promise to eliminate subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. There is no climate plan to pull our fair share of reaching the Paris targets. Rather than investing in the fight against climate change, the government is spending billions to put the environment at greater risk.”
“In the omnibus bill C-69, an omnibus bill including the Environmental Impact Assessment Act, the government compounds this failure. It seems that the Harper Conservatives dug a hole so deep that we no longer see out of it. Before Harper, the Canadian government would routinely assess over 4,000 projects annually for environmental standards. Under C-69, the government might review a handful of projects and only the “major ones”, as Catherine McKenna says over and over. But what about the many small projects that can do enormous damage? We are setting the bar dangerously low for achieving the environmental standards required for a sustainable planet.”
“The Green Party strives to be tireless but fair in its criticism and collegial in its parliamentary activity, and in this spirit I have proposed 378 amendments on 17 different bills during the last session. Several of these were passed and represent important improvements to the Fisheries Act, gun control legislation, the Impact Assessment Act, the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. And, I encourage my colleagues to keep pressing on issues that impact First Nations, especially those of child welfare and of safe drinking water. Much more work is required as we continue the process of reconciliation.”
“As we head into the summer recess, I reaffirm my support for the Prime Minister’s stance in dealing with the Trump administration. Liberal democracy is under attack. Hyper-vigilance is mandatory.”