Megan Leslie, Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition and Environment Critic for the NDP has tabled a ‘laundry list’ of resolutions pressing for a much more activist House of Commons Environment Committee. While the chance of the government members of the committee agreeing to undertake all of the studies the NDP is calling for is slim, the resolutions do indicate the key environment topics that are seen as important by some MPs in Ottawa. Ignoring the one resolution that might be described as having purely political content, the NDP resolutions, which may win support from Liberal MPs, are as follows:
- That the Committee conduct a review of the federal government’s sectoral approach to greenhouse gas regulations, and review the delays in establishing regulations for the oil and gas sector’s emissions.
- That the Committee commence a study on the national capacity to assess, mitigate and cope with the impacts of climate change, and to assess existing capacity and research, and make recommendations on the development and implementation of a National Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Strategy.
- That the Committee commence a study on the Great Lakes, to consider the Great Lakes water quality and quantity, including the impact of climate change on water levels, temperature and ecology.
- That the Committee request a briefing by officials from Environment Canada, Parks Canada, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the National Energy Board, and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission on the impacts of the repeal of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act on their operation and on project approvals.
- That the Committee conduct a study on progress regarding the Joint Oil Sands Monitoring program, including hearing from witnesses from federally and provincially responsible agencies, as well as affected communities.
- That the Committee conduct a study on the impacts of climate change and resulting new resource development and transportation routes in the Arctic, its environment, species, and ecological balance.
- That the Committee request a briefing by officials of Environment Canada on the policy regarding communications with the public and media by departmental scientists, including scientists at Environment Canada, Parks Canada and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
- That the Committee conduct a study on the development of a National Water Strategy for Canada.
- That officials provide an update to the Committee on the status of the evaluation of environmental consequences of shale gas development, including the departmental study into the environmental impacts of hydraulic gas fracturing in Canada.
- That the Committee conduct a study on the implementation and funding of the Species at Risk Act
- That the Committee conduct a study into the impacts of budget cuts on the operation, sustainability, and accessibility for visitors, and sustainability impacts for surrounding communities, to Parks Canada.
- That the Committee request a briefing by the Official Canadian Delegation to the Climate change convention negotiations prior to the meetings in Warsaw in November 2013 to detail Canada’s negotiating priorities
- That the Committee invite the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, no later than November 14, 2013, regarding the Fall 2013 Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development
- That the Committee invite the Minister of the Environment, the Hon. Leona Aglukkaq and departmental officials, for a briefing on contaminated sites, polluter pay initiatives and progress on reducing environmental liabilities for Canadian taxpayers.
GallonDaily applauds the initiative as one way of putting environment back on the national agenda. We are surprised, however, that the list does not include a resolution on waste reduction and recycling, a topic that Environment Canada used to embrace but which has now almost completely fallen from the Federal agenda. Reduction of food waste, an increasingly important topic, will almost certainly require federal action.
The full NDP press release can be found at http://meganleslie.ndp.ca/mp-proposes-laundry-list-of-environment-committee-changes