’Providing unbiased advice to governments’

The opposition frets that budget cuts target important sources of information, including the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy. Environment Minister Peter Kent is apparently unconcerned.

Mr. Speaker, our government appreciates and has thanked the round table for its service over the years for any number of reports addressing environmental issues. However, the reality is that the round table was created a quarter of a century ago. It was created before the Internet, when there were few such sources of domestic, independent research and analysis on sustainable development. That is simply no longer the case. There are now any number of organizations and university based services that provide those services.

When the National Roundtable was founded in 1988, Brian Mulroney appointed David Johnston to be its first chairman. And two years ago, Mr. Johnston, as Governor General, celebrated the National Roundtable’s work.

The stated mission of the Round Table is, and I quote, “to generate and promote sustainable development solutions to advance Canada’s national environmental and economic interests simultaneously, through the development of innovative policy research and advice.”

It is a mission rooted in a clear-eyed understanding that our desire for a modern economy and our duty to a sustainable environment are not mutually exclusive—they are mutually reinforcing. Indeed, one requires the other.

Since its creation in 1988, the Round Table has carried out that mission with energy and creativity—undertaking exhaustive research, bringing together diverse interests, rallying the brightest minds and providing unbiased advice to governments. I am proud of what we began together.

And the durability of 22 years is a signal in itself of the importance and utility of the work and the dedication of each of you.