Bob Mills, who represented the Alberta riding of Red Deer between1993 and 2008, joined Mark Parent, an environment minister in aprevious Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative government, and GreenParty Leader Elizabeth May are among those who have written to thePrime Minister asking him to reconsider. The National Round Table of the Environment Economy (NRTEE), whichwas established by the former Progressive Conservative governmentof Brian Mulroney in 1988 to promote sustainable development, isamong a number of groups that lost their funding in this year sfederal budget. I truly believe that the environment and the economy are tied.That they should be dealt with in a very important way, thatthat s the life blood, Mr. Mills told a news conference Thursdayorganized by Ms. May. |
I have been doing quite a bit internationally he said, andwhen I hear Canada mentioned it is quite often with a slur and Idon t like that. I am a proud Canadian and that s what s mostimportant. But Environment Minister Peter Kent told the Commons Thursday thatNRTEE s time has passed. When it was created a quarter of a century ago, there were fewsources of policy advice on the relationship between theenvironment and the economy, he argued.
That is not the casetoday and this is $5 million that can be better spent elsewhere. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, a former environment minister,previously defended the elimination of NRTEEby saying: Why shouldtaxpayers have to pay for more than 10 reports promoting a carbontax, something which the people of Canada have repeatedlyrejected? But the current and former members of NRTEE maintain the group didnot promote a carbon tax, it merely outlined the predicted effectsof man-made global warming and provided a range of solutions. I have always said if you re smart you surround yourself with abunch of really smart people and if you re dumb you surroundyourself with a bunch of cheerleaders, Mr. Mills said. I am very disappointed that they would take a move like this, he said.
Stephen Harper puts other priorities, I think, ahead ofthe environment and I think that s a mistake. Mr. Mills said he does not believe natural-resource productionneeds to be curtailed to prevent environmental degradation. Rather,he said, resource companies are looking for certainty fromgovernments and, if industry knows what is expected of it, researchwill be performed to create ways of reducing carbon that can bemarketed to other countries.
On the other hand, he said, if Canada is seen as an environmentallaggard, the rest of the world will resort to punitive sanctionsthat make oil-sands products more difficult to market. Mr. Parent said Nova Scotia and other provinces have looked to theNRTEE as they developed their own research on environmental issues.And preserving the environment means preserving the economy notjust in the short term but in the long-term, he said. As a Progressive Conservative, Mr.
Parent said, I am pretty sureconserve is in the name conservative and I always thought thatconservatives thought to conserve the best of the past and thewisdom and insight, but also and maybe foundationally toconserve the environment. Jim MacNeill, secretary-general of the Brundtland Commission, whichwas formerly known as the World Commission on Environment andDevelopment, said the actions of the current government have causedhim to reminisce fondly about Mr. Mulroney. At the time that he was in power I didn t think that he wasgreen enough but, in retrospect, I realized that he was a prize, areal prize, from the point of view of the environment, Mr.MacNeill said. He understood to a very large degree, the criticallink between the environment and the economy More Related to this Story Globe editorial Even a moderate environmental body now must die Brian Topp At last, real debates about real issues in Parliament.
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