Canada

Watchdog says Ottawa not protecting environment

Federal environmental watch-dog Johanne Gelinas has strongly criticized Ottawa for lack of action on the environment

Canada's commissioner of the environment and sustainable development has strongly criticized Ottawa for doing a poor job of protecting the oceans, promoting biodiversity and ensuring safe drinking water on native reserves.

Johanne Gelinas released a report Thursday that claims the federal government has no policy for buying green, and has not pushed its own departments and agencies to co-ordinate policies on sustainable development.

Gelinas oversees environmental issues for the auditor general. Her report says the government produces a lot of talk but not much action on environmental issues.

"The federal government is chronically unable to sustain initiatives once they are launched."

Gelinas also complained about bureaucratic turf wars, infighting and lack of accountability by government officials.

Her report lists a number of specific issues and problems, including lack of testing of airplanes, and the fact that there is no federal plan to manage oceans.

Gelinas says Ottawa spends $13 billion a year on goods and services that could boost the green industry if it insisted on buying environmentally sound products.

The commissioner's generally critical report does praise Ottawa for its approach to managing Canada's 41 national parks, but says Parks Canada could use another $75 million in new funding.

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