Stephen Harper has vowed to make national security a central plank is his election platform. But, Chris Wood writes, if we want to ensure our national security, we should be -- first and foremost -- concentrating on our environmental security. Unfortunately, over the last twenty-five years, governments of all stripes have not been focused on the environment:
In 1989, Canada was a leader in global climate discussions. But in 1993—the last year of the Progressive Conservative mandate – the Auditor-General pointed out that Canada had no “federal framework of desirable water quality objectives for the major ecosystems across Canada.” We still don’t.
Reporting a decade later in 2003, the Environment Commissioner found the by-then Liberal government’s progress toward reviewing the safety of thousands of chemical products brought to market before modern testing, “slow.” He warned that it was “likely that some of them do not meet today’s standards.” A dozen years later, the work is still unfinished, with no completion date in this decade either.
In this decade, blue-green algae toxic to neural and liver systems are spreading in Canada’s lakes and even oceans. Endocrine system defects and cancers are on the rise, while scores of semi-metabolized pharmaceuticals linked to endocrine disruption – from anti-depressants to byproducts of cocaine – are found in every major southern river from the St. Lawrence to the Saskatchewan to the Fraser. In 2014, the Conservative Party of Canada government withdrew federal protection from several thousand of those waterways.
Mr. Harper has vowed to add $150 million to the RCMP's anti-terrorism budget. But, it's our environment which provides terrorists with all kinds of soft targets. But, instead of protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink, the prime minister believes we are protecting ourselves by pursuing ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Protecting the homeland means protecting the environment in our own backyard.