Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Conservatives War On Environment Continues

More potential slash and burn, as it relates to anything associated with those dirty environmentalists:
The Canadian Environmental Network, a backbone of communications within Canada's environmental movement, has warned its staff they may be laid off next week because of federal funding cuts...

...operational funding is normally obtained annually based on an April-to-March fiscal year, but no funding has been received since April 1, nor is there any assurance it will be provided.

Mike Van Soelen, spokesman for Environment Minister John Baird, said the government is reviewing the CEN's work and considering other methods of staying in touch with the environmental movement.

"We're going to be making decisions shortly on how best to gather the opinion of Canadians on the environment," he said.

"Certainly our government values consultations with Canadians and we are always evaluating how best to reach out to Canadians and learn their views on the environment and we're always evaluating how to use taxpayers' money to improve the environment."

Asked whether the CEN has been performing well in the government's view, he said "our department is looking at the work they've done and our government is going to be making a decision shortly".

Translation- clean out your desk. For a government that claims to be "leading the world", it is strange to see such a concerted, consistent pattern, of undermining established environmental groups. I suppose you could argue that the Network is expendable, given that Minister Baird sees no need to meet with environmental groups, or seek their advice. And we wonder why a sense of partisanship is developing within the environmental community.


Canadian Tar Heel said...

One might guess at the CPC's motives/rationales, but I find it frustrating that Harper seems to say one thing and do another, especially when it comes to the environment. I'd rather have a straightforward politician, and if we disagree, fine. At least, I'd respect her/him. For example, it's how I feel about McCain.

Steve V said...

If you're sincerely interested in being a world leader, you don't devote so much of your energy to gutting already established initiatives and organizations. You can't reconcile the contradictions, and arguing for other directions is just code for shelving.

Anonymous said...

The CEN is trying to threaten the government into handing over more money - they should be told in no uncertain terms to take a hike.

As an organization that exists solely to extract money from government, the CEN is entirely unnecessary.

The CEN apparently provides the service of 'connecting environmental groups' - if this service is so important to those groups - they will gladly fund the CEN themselves, so there is no need to waste taxpayer's dollars on them.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous:
The fantasy world that CONservatives like yourself live would be nothing short of amusing but for the delusional.
On the one hand you claim the CEN is "trying to threaten the government into handing over more money", and is "an organization that exists solely to extract money from government" and should be funded by "supporting groups" so as to avoid the "waste taxpayer's dollars".
Meanwhile, your noble party is spending multi-millions of extra taxpayers dollars on polls that will help Harper find the wording that massages his messages, help identify policies that voters aprove of and all for the sole, single benefit of getting him (Steve) re-elected.
CEN may indeed be as you suggest, parasitic, but what does that make YOU and STEVE and CONSERVATIVES?

Anonymous said...

Hey 8:11 AM anon - Liberal governments are quite famous for giving friends millions of dollars to do polling and they've only given up this practice since losing access to the treasury, but if governments of all stripes were banned from spending on polls, most Conservatives would be all for it probably.

Anonymous said...


The truth is a little hard to know from the one article however I have generated an opinion.

The first is that I didn't know that "CEN" existed, or that it was funded through taxpayer dollars.

Now that I know, I am incredulous that we have been funding this stuff. I suppose if we want to "spy" on environmental groups we can control their lines of communication and eavesdrop. But other than that rather slimy rationale, I find it appalling that the taxpayer was hoodwinked into paying for this stuff.

I would conservatively say that the biggest 50 environmental groups/foundations spend a billion dollars in Canada each year. Why on earth should I be on the hook for a communications office for them?

On the other hand, if the Environment Department wants to cut the budget or set these guys adrift, you do it by giving them notice and giving them a chance to find other arrangements (like the billion dollars). If true, I am disappointed the government didn't provide a heads up on programming changes.