Thursday, January 17, 2013

Leaked Documents Reveal Oil Industry Role in Changes to Canadian Environmental Policy

It has long been suspected that recent, drastic changes to Canadian environmental policy were intended to expedite the development resource extraction projects and benefit their corporate proponents. However, recent leaked documents obtained by Access to Information request reveal that the Conservative government has actually gutted environmental protections at the request of the oil industry. A letter dating from late-2011 from a lobbying group representing Canada's most powerful oil companies identified six pieces of legislation that were impeding their desire to expedite the extraction of the country's fossil fuel resources. 

Among them were the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the Species-At-Risk Act, the Fisheries Act, and the Navigable Water Protection Act, all of which have been weakened in the past year to the benefit of the oil industry. While this revelation should come as no surprise, it highlights the extent to which the Canadian federal government is willing to bend over backwards to accommodate the interests of oil companies, even when it comes at a tremendous cost to the environment. While the public's skepticism over the intentions of the Conservative government has been growing over the past year this, perhaps more than any other revelation should cause Canadians to pause and consider who exactly their government is serving.  

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