Updated: Selective ministerial amnesia syndrome?


The Honourable John Baird, Minister of the Environment today applauded 15 new graduates of Environment Canada’s Basic Enforcement Training course, hosted by Algonquin College in Ottawa.  The Minister attended the ceremony and was on hand to give the new graduates their diplomas and offer his best wishes.

“I want to extend my sincere congratulations to this latest group of graduates ,” said Minister Baird.  “Completing this course puts them on the road to a rewarding career as enforcement officers with Environment Canada.  Canada’s New Government has made enforcement of environmental laws a priority, and today’s graduates will help protect our wildlife and ensure clean air, water and green spaces for the benefit of all Canadians.” (July 24, 2007)


Infrastructure Minister John Baird acknowledged in an interview yesterday that he is looking at removing redundant regulation.

“There’s a real hodge-podge of environmental assessment requirements – of overlap and duplication … Many of them are just duplicating what’s done at the provincial level.” […]

[Baird] said streamlining environmental assessments is one of several changes Ottawa is mulling, adding that rewriting laws is another.

He said, for example, that the Navigable Waters Protection Act as currently written is an example of outdated legislation that can hamper public works.

“We got an earful wherever we went from British Columbia to Nova Scotia on that,” he said.

UPDATE: As several commenters have very reasonably pointed out, the two statements are not necessarily contradictory, particularly if the “streamlining” that is planned will result in assessments that apply the higher of the two standards, whichever that happens to be. I still find it a bit disorienting to see the man who spent the last year or so trying to convince Canadians that his government was really, truly serious about environmental protection taking such a casual approach to the assessment process, but I can see the merit of arguments to the contrary, and so I have added a question mark to the subject, and updated the post.

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