Austerity and the


Exploitation of natural resources:
privatisation and disinvestment

The Marois and Harper governments grant private corporations the ability to exploit natural resources and to keep the royalties without any consideration for the environment, as seen in the case of shale gases, oil beneath Anticosti Island, and the proposed reversal of the Enbridge tar sands pipeline.

Cuts in environmental oversight

Using the pretext of the urgent need to reduce expenses, the State makes cuts to environmental regulatory bodies. For example:

  • Environment Canada has laid off 776 employees, or about 11% of its workforce;
  • The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) can decide if a project requires an environmental assessment or not; however assessment is no longer required for projects receiving federal funding;
  • The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy has been abolished and environmental groups no longer receive funding due to their political activities;;
  • The length of studies done by the National Energy Board (NEB) has been limited to a maximum of two years.

Repealing environmental protection legislation

In order to stimulate the economy and reduce spending related to environmental protection, the State has begun a gradual deregulation process that will eliminate its ability to act to protect the environment. For example:

  • Canada has pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act has been repealed;
  • The protection of threatened birds and aquatic animal species has been considerably reduced;
  • The Navigable Waters Protection Act has been weakened, and now only protects 3 oceans, 97 lakes, and 62 rivers out of the over 35000 bodies of water in Canada;
  • The NEB is longer obligated to impose conditions for the protection of natural habitats;
  • The government can now veto a decision of the NEB, which allows it to ignore its environmental recommendations.