Development over environmental health

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that economic development trumps environmental protection.

In his speech on Friday to his Conservative colleagues, I believe Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that economic development trumps environmental protection and the party faithful rose from their chairs in noisy approval.

There must be a disconnect here. His proposed economic development is to expand the oil sands, which will impair our environment and as a consequence our health. When it comes to listening to other points of view, it’s my view Harper says he couldn’t care less and he attempts to channel Canadians’ thinking away from heated issues, towards public safety. At the Conservative convention they are even handing out badges that say “ I love the oil sands.”

Our federal government is continuing to take away the environmental regulations which keep us safe, muzzling the government scientists and ignoring the consequences of further increasing our CO2 output. Federal oversight and cutbacks in staffing inhibit government scientists’ ability to measure and report on what is happening to basic indicators of the health of the country’s natural wealth. There is no longer public accountability to ensure that wrong-headed decisions and outright folly by our government can be prevented, or undone. We have not just a prime minister, but also a cabinet, who are refusing to let scientific facts influence their policies.

As noted linguist and intellectual Noam Chomski said in an interview with The Guardian News: “Canada is on a race to destroy the environment as fast as possible.”

Only a proactive and informed citizenry can put us back on the right track.

Sheri Plummer

Parksville