REALITY CHECK: The B.C. Liberal Legacy Of Environmental Hypocrisy

Posted in:

It’s been a dark decade for the environment under the B.C. Liberals, littered with betrayals and broken promises.

Here are just a few examples which show some of the reasons why the B.C. Liberal government will be remembered for its legacy of environmental hypocrisy.

Eliminating PST exemptions on environmentally friendly products: The B.C. Liberals’ HST doublecross resulted in a 7-per-cent tax increase on numerous environmentally friendly products, including bicycles and Energy Star rated appliances and windows.

Opening our park system to oil and gas: The B.C. Liberals made it legal for companies to explore for and extract oil and gas from our parks.

Pushing for coastal drilling: In their energy plan, the B.C. Liberals promise to work “to lift the federal moratorium on offshore exploration and development and reiterate the intention to simultaneously lift the provincial moratorium.”

Backing the Enbridge tar sands pipeline: The B.C. Liberals are advocating for the Enbridge tar sands pipeline despite the fact that this would mean hundreds of supertankers larger than the Exxon Valdez carrying hundreds of thousands of barrels of dirty crude through narrow fjords on our delicate central coast.

Privatizing our Rivers: The B.C. Liberals stripped communities of the right to say no to private power projects as part of their plan to undermine the public power system while selling our rivers to their friends. Thanks to another betrayal by the B.C. Liberal government, these projects no longer require an environmental assessment if they are under 50 megawatts.

Weakening environmental assessment: The B.C. Liberals raised the threshold at which an environmental assessment is required for many projects. For example, under the B.C. Liberals’ rules, no environmental assessment is required for the “temporary” storage of toxic waste, no matter how much of the lethal waste is being stored.

Failing to protect wild salmon: Despite overwhelming evidence that open pen fish farms are harming wild salmon, the B.C. Liberals ignored the New Democrat-led Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture’s recommendation to move the industry to closed containment.

Elimination of interpretive programs: Shortly after they were elected, the B.C. Liberal government eliminated interpretive programs in our park system. Massive cuts in 2001 also led to the removal of toilets and boat launch facilities from many parks.

B.C.’s New Democrats are working on solutions to ensure that natural resources are used effectively to create jobs in British Columbia, while respecting First Nations, environmental sustainability and local community needs.