Joe Oliver tries to assuage concerns about cuts to environmental assessments, but environmentalists aren’t convinced.
Environmental law expert Stephen Hazell said Oliver and Kent are only painting half the picture. While it’s true the biggest projects will still have some environmental oversight, “many, many small projects have big, big environmental effects.”
Hazell, in private practice, said the federal government is wrong to suggest that projects are still subject to “strong federal environmental protection laws and regulations” under statutes like the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Fisheries Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, and the Species at Risk Act. “The reason Parliament decided to enact the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 25 years ago was because the existing regulatory processes were not assessing the environmental effects of development projects properly.”