Sidestepping responsibility


Environment Minister Catherine McKenna’s March 18 decision that the Woodfibre LNG project “is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental impacts” put me in mind of a petition the federal Liberals, while in opposition, asked Canadians to sign. “I am opposed to the elimination of over 50 years of environmental protection through Bill C-38,” they encouraged us to tell then-Prime Minister Harper.

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One reason they gave was the Conservative government’s “repeal [and rewriting] of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act so the federal government can sidestep environmental reviews of potentially harmful projects.” The new rules allowed Conservative Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, in February 2014, to accept B.C.’s environmental assessment process as a substitute for a federal assessment of Woodfibre LNG.

Here’s a question Coast Reporter might have asked, in its coverage of MP Goldsmith-Jones’s clattering last-minute Hear Your Woodfibre Views tour: Was Minister McKenna bound by her predecessor’s decision not to have a separate federal assessment? Or did she have the power to backtrack and require one, but chose not to do so? I’d still be interested to know.

David Stow, Elphinstone

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