Environment Minister Peter Kent tries to reassure Canadians

In remarks today to the Globe conference, Canada’s Environment Minister Peter Kent seemed to be trying to reassure Canadians that the federal government continues to take science and environmental protection especially seriously. Key points included:

  • Our work is rooted in science, measurement, monitoring, analysis and the enforcement of rigorous rules and standards.
  • At Environment Canada, we are convinced that our status as a world-class regulator requires us to innovate at all levels of our operations, all the time.
  • The role of government is . . . to work to remove the barriers and impediments to growth and ensure the health and safety of our citizens and our shared environment.
  • People on either side are passionate about their position and are rooted in a deep desire to protect and preserve. . . All of these positions have merit and none are paramount.
  • If there is one word that characterizes Canada I believe it is “diversity”. Diversity of people and cultures. Diversity of beliefs and ideology… Diversity of geography and opportunity. The federal government’s role is to find common place among divergent perspectives and develop effective public policy.
  • My job as Environment Minister is not to shut down industry or deny development of our natural resources. . .My job is to ensure that Canada’s industrial operations are subject to robust environmental scrutiny.
  • Environmental assessments are required at all levels of government on projects big or small. Every jurisdiction doing its part to protect the environment by imposing what amounts to overlapping, duplicative and inefficient regulatory burden. But that process can get slow and bulky pretty fast. It’s always important to remember that when you’re talking about environmental rules–less can be more. And quantity should never be confused with quality.
  • We at Environment Canada take our role as a “world-class regulator” very, very seriously.
  • The rule of “one project, one review,” reduces expensive duplication and if anything, makes that one review even more focused and more stringent. We’re also using that same practical strategy to frame our domestic strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent over 2005 levels by 2020.

GallonDaily’s response: institutions are measured by what they do, not what they say they do. We will be listening more closely than usual to the March 29th federal budget.

The Minister’s speech to GLOBE 2012 can be found at http://www.ec.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=6F2DE1CA-1&news=BB188B8A-58E9-4CC0-8E6D-327D0675E1A3

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