Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Canadian Conservatives Admit to Killing Environmental Dissent

Most of us know that Canada's ruling Conservatives cut environmental spending for ideological reasons, what we did not expect is that the government would admit this publicly. As reported in the National Post, Foreign Minister John Baird unabashedly announced that the Conservatives wanted to get rid of federally-funded environmental advocacy group because they do not agree with their recommendations.

During question period in parliament Baird indicated that his government cut funding to the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) because the group offered advice that contradicted Conservative policy. Ironically the group was set up by former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in 1988.

The round table, brings together leaders in academia, the environmental movement and business to provide non-partisan research. The NRTEE has strongly warned about the economic risks of not addressing climate change. Part of the Conservatives disdain for the NRTEE is due to the fact that it recommended a carbon tax, which most environmentally concerned people now acknowledge is the best way to put the free markets to work for the planet.

“It’s clear what he is saying, the government is closing institutions down and shutting down the voices with whom they don’t agree with. They don’t like independence. They don’t like criticisms and that is why they are shutting them down,” interim Liberal leader Bob Rae said.

An NRTEE press release sent out Monday during question period announced a new report will be released Wednesday to Environment Minister Peter Kent. The report “identifies the need for Life Cycle Approaches in assessing the economic and environmental sustainability of Canadian products and policies. “

Factoring environmental concerns is contrary to Conservative policies and shutting down the NRTEE is proof that the Tories are playing partisan politics with the budget.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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