Recent cuts to Environment Canada's operating budget have left the department a shadow of its former self and unable to enforce what little environmental laws are left. The Harper Government has burned enough environmental legislation to keep the Minister warm for an entire winter in her home in chilly Gjoa Haven. Nero fiddles while Rome burns.
Frequent turnover at the head of a Department in the Public Service, sometimes referred to as Canada's Permanent Government, is almost never a good sign. It is often indicative of some serious friction at the highest level which almost inevitably reverberates throughout the department. It is therefore concerning but not surprising that Michael Martin is just the latest Deputy Minister at the Department of the Environment.
Astute readers of the Harry Potter series and keen political observers may see parallels to the current Harper Government™ as it seems to operate in a parallel universe clinging to its fantasies, denying obvious facts, and not helping Canadians adapt to the profound changes climate disruption will inevitably bring. Minister Aglukkaq is entitled to her fantasies; however she is not entitled to the facts.
Climate change has emerged as the single most important issue of our time, and it is nothing short of baffling that this government has chosen to bury its head in the sand and hope it goes away. Not only has the Harper government ignored the issue, but it has also gone to great lengths to suppress further research and any meaningful remedial or mitigating action. When Stephen Harper took office in 2006, he promised that we would not recognize Canada when he was done with it. He is on-track to keep that promise. For the sake of my grandchildren and all of us Muggles, I hope that Canadians prove him wrong in 2015.
British Columbia is blessed with a vast array of natural resources; mining has and will continue to have a profound influence on the B.C. economy. But the reason why we have environmental assessments is to ensure that new mine developments meet certain criteria. Cutting red tape means expediting the assessment process, not undermining it.