Feds Failing to Protect Canada's Environment - Commissioner Highlights Inadequate Investment

    OTTAWA, March 7 /CNW Telbec/ - Chronic underfunding and a legacy of
program cuts at Environment Canada have come home to roost.
    Canada's Environment Commissioner Ron Thompson released a scathing
assessment yesterday of this and a succession of previous government's
irresponsible handling of the environment file.
    The 2008 Status Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and
Sustainable Development noted the failure of the government to live up to
international environmental commitments and its conspicuous failure to comply
with its own regulations and rules, which require that all new government
programs and policies be vetted with a view to assessing their environmental
    The report exposes the government's hypocrisy, noting that while it
frequently asserts the critical importance to our social, economic and
environmental well-being of protecting bio diversity, it does little in the
face of escalating habitat loss and environmental degradation - now the
biggest threats to plants and animals in Canada.
    "The bottom line," says John Gordon, National President of the Public
Service Alliance of Canada, "is that Environment Canada has not allocated
sufficient human or financial resources to effectively manage Canada's
protected areas."
    As a result, Environment Canada is failing to protect the Great Lakes and
the St. Lawrence River basin and failing to enforce its regulations under the
Canada Wildlife Act or the Migratory Birds Convention Act as they pertain to
wildlife areas and bird sanctuaries.
    The Public Service Alliance of Canada is on record warning Environment
Minister John Baird about the harmful and unacceptable effects of program cuts
and underfunding at Environment Canada.
    "Protecting Canada's environment is about more than just climate change,"
says Bill Pynn, National President of the Union of Environment Workers.
"Environment Canada is seriously underfunded and it is unreasonable to expect
the department to provide the total package of environmental protections that
the public has a right to expect with a budget that is inadequate."

For further information:

For further information: Denis Boivin, PSAC Communications, 613-222-4617

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