Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: New Emissions Numbers a Minor Victory among Many Defeats

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: New Emissions Numbers a Minor Victory among Many Defeats

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: New emissions numbers a minor victory among many defeats

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An editorial from the Toronto Star, published Feb. 17:

Even the growing smog cloud hanging over Ottawa's environmental reputation has a silver lining, it seems - or at least a disappearing lead one.

The latest data from Environment Canada shows a significant year-over-year drop in emissions of damaging pollutants such as lead (21 per cent from 2010 to 2011), mercury (23 per cent) and cadmium (50 per cent) - a continuation of a 20-year, industry-led trend. That's good, perfectly timed news for a government under siege from environmental critics at home and south of the border.

Last week, Federal Environment Commissioner Scott Vaughan reported to Parliament that the Harper government is failing to mitigate the environmental and health impacts of a cross-Canada resource industry boom. "We know that there is a boom in natural resources in this country and I think what we need now - given the gaps, given the problems we found - is a boom in environmental protection in this country as well," Vaughan told Parliament. In particular, the commissioner chastised the government for its reckless combination of environmental deregulation and subsidies for the oil industry - a recipe, he said, that will take a toll not only on our health and our planet, but also, when accidents inevitably happen, on our economy.

Before the government could even mount a defence, another potential economic cost of our laggardly environmental policy presented itself. David Jacobson, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, implied that the fate of the $7-billion Keystone XL pipeline may depend on the Conservatives cleaning up their act on climate change. In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Barack Obama listed the environment among his key priorities. …

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