The NDP, the Greens, the Liberals, David Suzuki and their friends don’t like it. But I do. After months of saying we needed to rethink our environmental review process, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver finally gave us the details of his new plan yesterday morning. And on the whole, I think his plan makes a lot of sense.
First of all, I like the fact that protecting the environment doesn’t have to be an enemy of economic development – or is it the other way round? It is possible to develop and exploit our resources in a responsible, sustainable manner. Whenever possible we should try to have the lightest impact on the environment. But at the same time we have to keep getting humanoids where they need to go and keep them warm in the winter – to say nothing of helping them stay clean with, you know, high-pressured hot soapy water.
Don’t get me wrong. I like the environment. But I don’t make a religion out of it. And I vastly prefer technologies that agree with human beings instead of those that seem made for space aliens. Like wind farms and those humongous solar panels – very “War of the Worlds” they are those things, and I don’t mean that in a good way. They’re creepy as all get out. They kill birds, too.
I’m sure the devil will be in the details, as usual, but I must say Joe Oliver’s announcement yesterday made a lot of sense to me. We are now going to limit the number of regulatory organizations to three, down from 40, and insist on firm deadlines for reviewing projects. The idea is to make the review process thorough, yes, but more predictable and efficient. And above all else not let activists highjack the process and stretch things along unduly just because.
Yes, the activists will hate it. It didn’t take the Council of Canadians half an hour yesterday to object that Oliver’s announcement was about It is about “a government ramming through an agenda driven by export-oriented resource extraction.” The NDP and the Liberals both accused the Conservatives of “gutting” environmental protection.
Yeah, well. I disagree. I think those reforms make sense. Two thumbs up from me.
Categories: Two minutes of politics