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Serious Concerns with the Federal Port Development Act

Serious Concerns with the Federal Port Development Act: Huntington, Weaver
March 3, 2015
For Immediate Release

Victoria B.C. – Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay Gordon Head and Deputy Leader of the B.C. Green Party, and Vicki Huntington,  Independent MLA for Delta South, are profoundly concerned that Bill 12: the Federal Port Development Act will fail to safeguard environmental protections that are facing federal deregulation.

Bill 12 is the provincial link to the federal omnibus Bill C-43, which has been criticised for dismantling environmental protections on port lands through its changes to the Canada Marine Act.

“With the introduction of this bill the province is complacent in the deregulation of environmental protection,” says Andrew Weaver. “As MLAs we need more time to examine the bill.”

“This bill is triggered by Bill C-43, which places secret and extra parliamentary law-making authority in the hands of ports, provinces and even industry,” says Vicki Huntington.

Bill 12 allows the provincial government to enter into the agreements outlined in the federal bill C-43. These agreements could give the province widespread authority over ports. However, Bill 12 does nothing to address the significant environmental regulatory gaps critics say have been created by the C-43 updates to the Canada Marine Act.

For example, Bill C-43 would allow the federal government to sell federal port lands to industry. In doing so, that area would lose its status as federal land, and potentially also become exempt from terrestrial species protection under the Species At Risk Act. Bill 12 may allow LNG ports to take advantage of these loopholes.

“If the Federal government is trying to limit the environmental regulations that apply on port lands, it is up to the provincial government to ensure that adequate protection remains – we want to be sure that this Bill is doing enough on that front,” says Weaver.

MLA Weaver and MLA Huntington each introduced separate amendments designed to provide greater scrutiny of Bill 12.

West Coast Environmental Law Backgrounder

Media Contacts
Mat Wright — Press Secretary – Andrew Weaver MLA
Cell: 250 216 3382

Aldous Sperl – Vicki Huntington MLA

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