A report released today by the University of Victoria's Environmental Law Centre calls for sweeping reform of Canadian charitable law in line with other jurisdictions such as the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and England. Current rules around "political activity" are confusing and create an "intolerable state of uncertainty," the report says.
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"Basically for the last year or so we've watched more and more information be denied to us intervenors in the National Energy Board process."
Canada's so-called "War on Science" has made international headlines, especially after deep funding cuts led to the closure of some of Canada's most important research centres. Thousands of federal scientists from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans as well as Environment Canada have lost their jobs as a result of the cuts. Since 2006 the Harper government has introduced strict communications procedures that prevent scientists from speaking freely about -- and at times even publishing -- their research.
"In the lawsuit filed today, we argue that due to fundamental flaws in the JRP's report, Cabinet was deprived of the legal authority to make a final decision on the pipeline," Chris Tollefson, ELC executive director and lawyer for BC Nature, said.
Not even a month has passed since the federally-appointed Joint Review Panel (JRP) released its official report recommending approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline, pending the fulfillment of 209 conditions. Yet already two separate suits have been filed against the integrity of the report, with groups requesting that the federal cabinet delay a final decision on the pipeline project until the Federal Court of Appeal can assess the complaints.