Environmental consultation at risk — activist

Thursday’s federal budget is about favouring business over the environment and keeping Canadians quiet and in the dark on environmental issues, says activist Susanna Fuller.

The budget talks about maintaining the highest environmental standards, but follows immediately with a pledge to make it easier to push natural resource development through faster.

"We will streamline the review process for such projects, according to the following principle: one project, one review, completed in a clearly defined time period. We will ensure that Canada has the infrastructure we need to move our exports to new markets."

The marine co-ordinator for the Ecology Action Centre, Fuller said she believes the streamlining process is about trying to cut down on the amount of public consultation for controversial projects, such as mining and oil operations.

"They don’t like the fact that there’s 4,000 people lined up to speak against the Enbridge pipeline," Fuller said.

Enbridge Inc. plans to pipe crude oil from Alberta’s oilsands to Kitimat, B.C., and ship it from there by supertankers to Asian markets. Federal hearings into the pipeline project began in January in Kitimat. More than 4,300 people and groups have signed up to speak at the hearings.

Fuller said that part of her concern with streamlining the process is the projects cited in that part of the budget. "It’s mining and oil, mining and oil," she said.