Final Assessment of Canada’s Outgoing Commissioner of the Environment

Scott Vaughan, Canada’s Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, presented his 2012 Fall Report to the Standing Committee on Natural Resources on February 5th. The report is available at: http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_cesd_201212_e_37708.html as five separate chapters: Atlantic offshore oil and gas activities; Financial Assurances for Environmental Risks; Marine Protected Areas; A Study of Federal Support for the Fossil Fuel Sector; and, Environmental Petitions. The Commissioner’s Perspective document at: http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_cesd_201212_00_e_37709.html  concludes with the following concerns: “…. the current level of inspections of major resource projects in the North is very low relative to the level of activity. The government does not know the actual cost of its support to the fossil fuel sector. Meanwhile, offshore resource development continues to expand even as the government makes slow progress establishing marine protected areas. As well, the petroleum boards on the east coast and their federal partners are not adequately prepared to respond to a major oil spill should they need to step in.” French versions of these documents are available at:http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/Francais/parl_cesd_201212_f_37708.html. The Government’s official response to the report is at: http://www.ec.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=FFE36B6D-1&news=A832AD6F-5CE4-448B-B91D-B5C7E2AB4B2A. See the reaction of the David Suzuki Foundation to the Commissioner’s report at:  http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/science-matters/2013/02/government-must-heed-environment-commissioners-warnings/.

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