Canada slacking off on environmental protection

Canada is not doing enough to protect the environment, concluded a harsh report released yesterday by the nation’s commissioner of the environment, Johanne Gelinas. “Why is progress so slow?” she asked. Mandates are in place and commitments have been made, so the culprit must be “lack of leadership, lack of priority, and lack of will,” she said. The report outlines several areas where talk is not matched by action or clear measurement. Canada ratified the Kyoto Protocol, but has yet to produce a plan to meet its targets. A 1990 cabinet directive requires all federal departments and agencies to account for the environmental impact of initiatives bound for ministerial approval, but few have developed concrete plans to do so. National salmon policy remains hobbled by a lack of clear objectives or information on salmon populations. And so on. The opposition seized on the report: “When it comes to the environment, this government is racing George W. Bush to the bottom of the international heap,” said the New Democrats’ Nathan Cullen.