Main Estimates slash spending in key areas for coastal environmental protection

OTTAWAThe 2012-13 Main Estimates released by the Conservative government outline provisional spending plans for the March 29 budget that forecasts a deep series of cuts to key departments for environmental protection.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency can expect a $13 million cut, which is over 43% of their budget.

“We have a panel that is already undermined by industry and government pressure. Now there is a forecast to cut an agency that is central to the review process and would assist in keeping things safe,” said MP Nathan Cullen referring to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel.

Fisheries and Oceans would lose $156 million, and see a total elimination of aids to navigation. Transport Canada would lose $10 million of marine safety spending.

“How can people feel secure with oil-filled supertankers entering the unpredictable waters of the Douglas Channel for the first time in history with no navigation aids?”

Portions of the Douglas Channel are 1.35km wide, much narrower than the 10km wide passage where the Exxon Valdez disaster occurred.

“The Conservatives are planning to gut the services that offer protection against oil spills, which only undermines and already weakened process,” said Cullen.

The Main Estimates show the direction of the government’s spending plans for the upcoming fiscal year. It is provisional and can change significantly before the budget is tabled. However, it provides preliminary projections that assist the Official Opposition in holding the government to account for its fiscal decisions.

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