November 06, 2013
PCs vote no on transparency and integrity for new environmental agency
EDMONTON, AB (November 6, 2013): After advertising the creation of an independent arms-length environmental monitoring agency, the PC government shot down credible and constructive amendments to ensure the board has full independence and will not be a landing pad for PC patronage appointments, Wildrose Environment Critic Joe Anglin said today.
As written, Bill 31 the Protecting Alberta’s Environment Act, does not require that the supporting raw data leading to a report or finding be released to the public. Without access to the raw data, peer reviews will be compromised or impossible to undertake. It will be difficult, if not impossible to verify the accuracy of any report or finding. “If we are going to create an independent agency, let’s do it right instead of creating another failed PC experiment on the environment,” Anglin said. “Ensuring that data is fully open and available to the public should be a no-brainer, but this government would rather meddle and obfuscate than be open and transparent.” Other amendments on guaranteeing independence of the new board voted down by the PCs include:
- Mandating firm completion dates for when reports will be made available
- Removing government consultation on reporting of the data
- Ensuring cooperation on request of the agency and not on the discretion of the minister
The PC government also voted down several amendments that protect the integrity of the board. Currently, there are no qualifications to be appointed to the Science Advisory Panel and no blackout period for former MLAs to be appointed. “We should have the best people, with the best qualifications to be placed on this board. We shouldn’t be opening the door to plant failed PC MLAs and friends for an environmental agency,” Anglin said. “Albertans deserve to know their government will act with integrity, but this legislation fails to do that.”