With the federal election looming, I have been giving considerable thought to where the different political parties stand on the environment, the economy and a variety of other issues.
More and more it would seem, at least when it comes to the environment, that the current federal government is trying harder and harder to disassociate themselves from taking either financial or moral responsibility when it comes to dealing with such issues, instead choosing to make blanket statements that have little or no substance
Not that the other political parties have come forward with a worthwhile environmental platform.
It’s all a bit disheartening. It can all be a bit confusing. A case in point is the management of many of the rivers in this province, spread among numerous provincial and federal government agencies. For example, the BC Ministry of Environment is in charge of managing water quality. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (federal) is responsible for fish habitat. The Integrated Land Management Bureau is responsible for issuing foreshore leases (for such things as the construction of docks), while the use of power boats is regulated through Transport Canada. It really is hard sometimes to know who is supposed to be in charge.
And I guess that’s my point. When it comes right down to it, we, the voters, are still in charge – more or less. While we may sometimes feel we do not have enough direct input into the decision-making process and policies of any given siting government, we do still have the ability to exercise our democratic rights at the polling booth come election day.
Like most people, I try to make a relatively informed decision when I mark my ballot. That is why I really do want to know where the different political parties stand on a variety of issues that are important to me. I do not feel that is too much to ask of those candidates who are running locally and the federal parties themselves when it comes to national policy.
Over the years, I have written a number of times about the ever-increasing number of larger and more powerful watercraft showing up on our lakes and rivers – all which add to the amount of traffic, noise, water pollution, shoreline erosion and impact on wildlife. I do not try to pass myself off as knowing any more than the average person/voter when it comes to this situation. However, things do affect me, in as much as I spend a fair amount of time either sitting out on the lake or casting my line from the banks of some river. I also recognize the fact that other people have as much right to enjoy their time on the water as I do.
I appreciate and respect the policies that are in place to regulate activities on the water so that all people, as well as the creatures that live in and around our lakes and rivers, can coexist.
That is why I have a problem with the current federal government which has, through Transport Canada, introduced a number of so-called ‘small’ changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act. These small changes are, in effect, the current federal government’s attempt to eliminate any obligation or need on the part of industry/development to conduct any sort of environmental assessment on the impact of any given project.
It is all too clear where the current government stands.
I guess what I would like to know is where the other political parties stand when it comes to the environment. I would also like to see it in writing.
Seems to me the whole issue of the environment really does all boil down to a question of priorities and politics.