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Democracy, Legislation and Policies

Parliament Hill, Ottawa
The problem: Despite the fact that environmental degradation and global warming are among the top concerns of Canadians, legislation and policy at the federal and provincial levels are inadequate to address climate change and the many threats to ecosystems and wildlife. As a result ecosystems continue to be damaged or even obliterated, and the list of species at risk continues to climb at an alarming rate. In addition, the federal and some provincial governments have systematically gutted environmental legislation and regulations in order to facilitate the rapid expansion of energy and other industrial projects. Departments involved with environmental issues have faced massive cuts, and are often no longer able to fulfill their mandates. Current Environmental Assessment processes are so flawed that they are of little or no use in ensuring ecosystem protection. Regulations are often not properly monitored or enforced, and penalties for non-compliance are inadequate. 
What needs to change: The Canadian public must become fully engaged in understanding these issues and insisting that politicians address them. A truly democratic election process based on a system of proportional representation is needed to ensure that everyone’s vote actually counts. Rigorous environmental legislation must be adopted including Conservation Strategies that place environmental protection first and Energy Strategies whose priorities are conservation and a rapid reduction in fossil fuel use. Departments dealing with environmental issues must be fully funded. Adequate monitoring and enforcement of legislation and regulations must be adopted. Serious penalties for non-compliance must be instituted. Environmental Assessment processes must be radically reformed to ensure that the processes are not lead by the proponent, there is full public consultation, and cumulative effects of multiple existing or proposed projects are addressed.
Links to other organizations addressing election reform in Canada: