The quiet cuts - Macleans.ca

The quiet cuts

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Mike De Souza tallies the cuts at Environment Canada.

About $4 million in funding for response to oil spills or other environmental emergencies is being cut as part of a shift toward a “nationally co-ordinated” model that would focus on providing advice from a central location. Meantime, the monitoring of water pollution will “be made more efficient,” along with a reduction in “the overall number of monitoring stations,” for upper atmospheric ozone.

Thomas Duck, an atmospheric scientist from Dalhousie University, suggested the government has no evidence to support its plan. “The observational network was put together very carefully by experts over many years,” said Duck. “This is reckless destruction of important scientific capacity that is needed to protect the health and safety of Canadians.”

Oil spill monitoring in British Columbia will also be cut, news of which drew an enlightening response from Peter Kent’s office.

The federal government has sought to downplay concerns about the changes. “This will not impact Canadians or the environment,” said a statement from Environment Minister Peter Kent’s office this week. “These employees were not cleaning up spills. They were providing information about environmentally sensitive land and species at risk.”