This week saw our federal, provincial and territorial energy ministers, minus Ontario, trot out a joint communique describing the tarsands as "sustainable and responsible", even as the Cons were simultaneously slashing the federal Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency budget by 43% and its staff by 33%.
Then yesterday Enviro Minister Peter Kent announced "a world class environmental monitoring plan" for the tarsands, based on recommendations from Bruce Carson and the Independent Oil Sands Advisory Panel.
The Toronto Star :
Environment Minister Peter Kent hopes a comprehensive new plan for monitoring the impact of the Alberta oilsands will boost the damaged reputation of the industry abroad.
“It will provide the facts and the science to defend the product which some abroad are threatening to boycott.”
“There is already a great deal of disinformation and misinformation both within Canada and abroad and we’re seeing it being used in a variety of ways — sometimes for a variety of purposes — to discriminate against the product of a great Canadian natural resource.”
Kent said he hoped the monitoring program would help alleviate concerns in Washington and speed up the approvals process.Presumably Kent means speeding up the KeystoneXL pipeline.approvals process in Washington but gosh, he sure is pretty darn certain his new objective scientific monitoring plan is going to present the tarsands in a good light, isn't he?
And say, was it only a year ago that the Standing Committee on Environment review (6 Cons, 3 Libs, 2 Bloc, 1 NDP) considered the scientific testimony presented to its review of the tarsands to be so volatile and divisive that the committee held its last seven meetings behind closed doors before opting to scuttle its own investigation and destroy all copies of its draft report?
Maybe Kent's world class environmental monitoring plan could start by looking into whatever scared the crap out of them.