Thursday, 21 June 2012

RE: =1=:What is Harper afraid of?

This is a copy of the letter sent to me by York Centre Conservative MP Mark Adler. I emailed him expressing concerns about Bill C-38. Let us be honest, no one should expect anything less than talking points from MPs on the government side. So I was not shocked by his response. However, I will let others draw their own conclusions. And please note that I sent this three weeks ago prior to the vote on the bill, yet I recieved a response from my local MP well after the vote. It should also be noted that I have yet to hear a response from Prime Minister Harper or Thomas Mulcair. First a copy of the email I sent him:

From: []
Sent: May 28, 2012 12:10 AM
To: Adler, Mark - M.P.
Cc: Harper, Stephen - P.M.; May, Elizabeth - M.P.; Rae, Bob - M.P.; Mulcair, Thomas - Député;;
Subject: =1=:What is Harper afraid of?

Dear Mark Adler,
What is Stephen Harper afraid of?
Rivers that turn black and run into the sea?
Birds falling from a heavy sky?
People fleeing a toxic land?

Or maybe Harper is most afraid of this...
Tar Sands Oil being labeled dirty.

I am writing to you because I am afraid of the Harper Government's plans to build the Northern Gateway pipeline straight through the Rocky Mountains. And the Great Bear Rainforest -- all to facilitate the expansion and export of tar sands oil, which Environment Canada identifies as our "fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions."

With all the changes that Harper is making...
  • Gutting the fisheries act
  • Trashing the environmental assessment act
  • Overruling the National Energy Board
  • Barring environmental groups from hearings
  • Barring Canadian citizens from hearings (unless they live or work in the area)
  • Speeding up environmental reviews
  • Slashing Environment Canada's budget
  • Silencing the Scientists (and anyone who disagrees with the Harper Government)
  • Lifting the 40 year ban on tankers on B.C.'s coast
... We could be hit with some major environmental catastrophes.

The Harper Government claims they are doing "responsible resource development". But a "secret" Environment Canada report, released under access to information laws, shows that to be false.

The May 2011 report states that contamination of the Athabasca River is a "high profile concern". It cited recent studies which suggest that "elevated levels of pollutants near mining sites including hydrocarbons and heavy metals raises questions about possible effects on health of wildlife and downstream communities." The government report also said that current data cannot generate a "big picture" view of impacts on the ecosystem. And that "oil sands development will continue to put pressure on vulnerable species."

Surprisingly, Minister Joe Oliver -- the man who has travelled across Canada pitching the need to speed up Environmental Reviews -- said he'd never seen the secret government report and didn't know whether the fish from the Athabasca River were safe to eat. (When pressed, he admitted that he had heard about deformed and contaminated fish in the news.)

Why is the government looking the other way? Is this 'environmental racism' as the First Nations contend?

Shouldn't the Federal Minister in charge of the oil sands be held accountable for oil sands mining that is polluting our air, land and water?

Does this mean that poisoning downstream communities and wildlife, is just the "cost of doing business" in Canada?

The government and the oil industry need to be held accountable for the pollution from oil sands mining. Canadian taxpayers and oil sands investors are at risk of class action lawsuits if we look the other way.

Don't look the other way! Please vote 'against' the Budget Bill-C38.
In less than two weeks you will have an opportunity to make a historic decision. You will be voting on the Budget Bill-C38. If it passes it will undo decades of environmental law and give the oil industry free rein to build pipelines and expand the oil sands, largely without input or double-checks from environmental scientists, environmental advocates or public participation -- from people like you and me. Bill C-38 is a dangerous bill that will change the face of Canada.

Canada's environmental international standing will be dragged further through the proverbial mud as the federal government invites the oil industry to treat the natural environment in a manner similar to standards applied in developing nations to foster economic growth.

Tell the oil industry and the Harper Government that doing business in Canada must include protecting our air, land, water, wildlife and people from oil pollution.

Please stand up for Canada.
Say no to irresponsible resource development.
Keep our country beautiful from sea to shining sea.
Vote 'against' the Budget Bill-C38.


Jordan Glass


And now for his response:

Dear ­­­­­Jordan:

Thank you for writing me about your concerns regarding the Environmental provisions of Bill C-38, the Jobs, Growth, and Long-term Prosperity Act.

As Canadians, we are blessed to live in a country with abundant natural resources. Resources which have helped fuel our growth to the point where we now enjoy some of the highest standards of living in the world. As Canadians, we are also proud to live in one of the most naturally beautiful countries on the planet. We are proud of our wildlife, clear blue lakes, and pristine forests.

The provisions of Bill C-38 will ensure responsible resource development. Responsible resource development means a system that provides predictable, certain and timely environmental reviews while also providing strengthened environmental protection and enhanced Aboriginal consultations.

A consistent and streamlined environmental review system where redundancies and duplications are eliminated is vital to continue our long-term growth. This fact has been recognized by business leaders across Canada. For example, Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce acknowledged that “our cumbersome regulatory system [is] one of the top 10 barriers to Canadian competitiveness. The added delays and costs imposed by the overcomplicated process dull our competitive edge in global markets and place Canada’s standard of living at risk.”

The provisions of Bill C-38 will strengthen environmental protection by proposing several measures to help ensure that resources are allocated where they are most needed.  The bill will ensure environmental reviews focus on major projects that could have more significant potential impacts on the environment, rather than on needless reviews of smaller projects with little to no environmental impact that clog up the review system. These unnecessary reviews cost money, discourage investment, and will mean less jobs for Canadians. Furthermore, Bill C-38 also proposes measures to improve enforcement and compliance of environmental regulations in order to provide better protection for Canadians.

Thank you for contacting my office. I value hearing the thoughts and opinions of all my constituents.  I look forward to staying in touch.


Mark Adler – MP York Centre

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