Conservatives remain silent on future of coal mines in Alberta if elected: criticism
The Conservative Party of Canada does not say whether a government led by Erin O’Toole would maintain measures backed by the other two main parties that would increase scrutiny of proposals for surface coal mines in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta .
He was responding to questions from The Canadian Press on whether the victorious Conservatives would keep the measures announced under the previous Liberal government on coal mining a hot topic in Alberta.
These measures include promises of federal participation in future environmental assessments of such projects and a warning that new thermal coal mines do not meet Canada’s climate change goals. The Liberals categorically rejected one of these proposals, Riversdale Resources’ Grassy Mountain mine, saying it would have unacceptable environmental impacts.
A spokesperson for the New Democrats said his party supported these positions.
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Clancy’s response to the Conservatives does not address them. The words “coal” or “mining” do not appear either.
“We have a detailed plan for showing leadership on environmental, social and governance (issues) and we support an assessment process that meets the highest environmental standards and sets clear expectations and deadlines for environmental reviews,” he wrote.
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Alberta has been torn apart by the possibility of having more coal mines in its beloved mountains and foothills since its United Conservative government revoked a 1976 policy that protected them. These landscapes are favorite recreational destinations, as well as the source of most of the province’s drinking water.
A public outcry over the coal mines forced the province to restore protections and form a committee to hear from Albertans before taking further action.
The response from the federal Conservatives does nothing to address these deep-seated concerns, said Craig Snodgrass, mayor of High River, a community in the foothills that has opposed mining.
“There is no solace in this statement,” he said. “When you make a statement like that, and you make it so gray and you don’t take a stand on this stuff, we know exactly what you’re doing.”
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The statement suggests that a Conservative government would be reluctant to use federal powers for environmental protection, said Martin Olszynski, professor of law at the University of Calgary.
“It is very clear that the Conservatives would essentially leave the matter to the province,” he said. “The federal government’s involvement in mining has been an added guarantee and has provided Canadians and Albertans with that added security. “
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Olszynski notes that the Conservative Platform is also proposing to rewrite Canada’s environmental impact legislation.
Bobbi Lambright, spokesperson for a foothills landowner group, said her organization sees federal government involvement in coal mine valuation as a way to ensure projects are evaluated in a meaningful way. thorough.
“Our members really want to be assured that the gains that have been made in protecting the eastern slopes [of the Rockies] are not lost as a result of the federal election, ”she said.
She criticized the Conservatives’ response to questions about coal mining.
“These are exactly the questions that many people in Alberta want answered,” she said. “They didn’t answer them.
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The Canadian Press has also reached out to John Barlow, the Conservative candidate for the Foothills constituency, which covers much of the area that has been leased for coal exploration. He did not answer.
Snodgrass said Ottawa has a legitimate role in environmental matters and any party that wants to govern should explain how it will exercise it.
“They say it’s a provincial problem, but we all know it’s not. We all know these projects land in the hands of the federal government, ”he said.
“The Conservative Party of Canada wants to be the government but does not take a position on [this issue] has red flags fluttering everywhere.
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