Friday, July 17, 2015

Does Self-Regulation Ever Work?


Anne Casselman has a really great, well-researched piece titled 'The problem with (self-regulated) environmental assessments' up in B.C. Business.

Here's one small slice (but I recommend you go read it all) that explains what what Mr. Harper's government is really up to in this realm:

...(W)hile B.C. may be experiencing a renaissance in resource development, it also comes at a time when our environmental assessment process is, according to critics, the weakest and most confusing it has been in decades—thanks to abrupt changes in our environmental laws and deep budget cuts to government regulatory agencies.

In 2010, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency's (CEAA’s) annual budget was cut by 40 per cent down to $17 million (meaning that the environmental assessment office for all of Canada has an annual budget less than one-twentieth of Enbridge’s regulatory expenditures for Northern Gateway).

The CEAA cut was followed by radical changes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, which reduced the scope of public engagement and divvied up responsibility across federal or provincial agencies. The Navigable Waters Protection Act was also replaced by the Navigation Protection Act, which removed federal protection for 98 per cent of all rivers and lakes in Canada. And the Fisheries Act—Canada’s oldest and strongest piece of environmental legislation—was rewritten to remove explicit habitat protection for all fish. The end result of all these changes has been an increasingly self-regulating, self-reporting system that’s full of grey areas, where discretionary judgment calls are made without any accountability...

And we all know how this type of de-regulation followed by self-regulation turned out for the containment of deadly bacteria blooms in meat-cutters.




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