1 April 2017 | West Coast Environmental Law

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April 2017

Reigniting a spirit of outrage on Earth Day

22 April, 2017

In honour of Earth Day, Staff Counsel Linda Nowlan looks at how the green movement can – and must – do more to keep the planet alive and thriving, as proposed by Peter Dauvergne in his book, Environmentalism of the Rich.

 

Today, April 22, we celebrate Earth Day, the day of action that started in 1970 and helped launch the environmental movement. 

Expert Panel report on environmental assessment review – an overview

18 April, 2017

On April 5th, the federal government released the report of its Expert Panel that has been reviewing Canada’s environmental assessment (EA) processes. The report, Building Common Ground: A new vision for impact assessment in Canada, sets out a bold new vision of how the government should weigh options and make decisions about proposals that could affect the health of the environment and Canadians. Staff Counsel Anna Johnston shares an overview of some of the report's highlights, and how well they align with our priorities for a next-generation environmental assessment law.

Environment & Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna with EA Review Expert Panel Chair Johanne Gélinas (Photo: Anna Johnston).

On April 5th, the federal government released the report of the Expert Panel that has been reviewing Canada’s environmental

Climate in the 2017 BC Election

12 April, 2017

In an earlier post we compared the BC Liberal and BC NDP Climate plans in advance of the upcoming election. Now that the BC Green Party has released its climate plan, Staff Counsel Andrew Gage provides an update to our scorecard evaluating the platforms of all three parties.

In an earlier post we compared the BC Liberal and BC NDP Climate plans in advance of the upcoming election.  At the time the BC Green Party had not released its climate plan. 

Will the Canadian government “restore lost protections” for navigable waters?

11 April, 2017

The Liberal Party of Canada was elected in part on the basis of a promise to restore lost environmental protections – including reviewing the “elimination of the Navigable Waters Protection Act” in order to “restore lost protections and incorporate more modern safeguards.”  On March 23rd the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transportation reported on the results of its review, and made a series of recommendations related to Canada’s laws related to navigable waters. But does the Committee's report chart a path for delivering on the government’s election promises and restoring lost legal protections for the public right of navigation?


The review of the Navigation Protection Act is an opportunity to strengthen legal protection for navigation and the environment on all navigable lakes and rivers. (Photo: Arlen Tees).

Solidarity with the Secwepemc: Yes to a healthy environment, no to Ajax Mine

7 April, 2017

On April 1st, the Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund team had an opportunity to visit some of our grantees in Secwepemc territory/Kamloops and participate in a declaration of solidarity and support for the Secwepemc decision to reject the proposed Ajax mine. The ceremony brought together Indigenous communities, Kamloops residents and allies in the long-term fight against this project and the unacceptable risks it would present to culture, environment and health.

Last week, the Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund team had an opportunity to visit some of our grantees in Secwepemc territory/Kamloops and participate in a declaration of solidarity and support for the Secwepemc decision to reject the proposed Ajax mine. The ceremony brought together Indigenous communities, Kamloops residents and allies in the long-term fight against this project and the unacceptable risks it would present to culture, environment and health.

How Teck Resources benefits from being the largest BC Liberal donor

5 April, 2017

Revelations about the amount of corporate money coming to the BC Liberals have many people asking: what are these companies getting in return? It’s a good question. After all, corporations are not supposed to spend their shareholders’ money without a reasonable expectation of a return. In addition to questions about BC Liberal donors receiving government contracts or particular favourable government decisions, it's important to recognize that large corporate donations may be aimed at achieving a more sympathetic regulatory environment - one in which a failure to comply with BC's environmental laws may not result in major consequences. Teck Resources Ltd. is one of the BC Liberals' largest donors, and some of its companies have been in chronic non-compliance with the province's laws, making it arguably a beneficiary of a pattern of declining environmental enfrocement in BC. Moreover, a failure to follow BC's environmental laws has not prevented Teck Coal Ltd. from receiving an unprecedented permit approval from Cabinet to expand those same operations. Large corporate donations raises fundamental questions about whether our politicians will regulate the hand that feeds their re-election campaigns. 

Revelations about the amount of corporate money coming to the BC Liberals – not to mention RCMP investigations – have many people asking: what are these companies getting in return? It’s a good question.