Canada, like many of its neighbors, is struggling to balance the competing needs of economic improvement and environmental protection during this global depression. Included in Canada’s 2009 federal budget, recently presented to Parliament, are suspicious provisions that encourage “regulatory efficiency” in infrastructure projects designed to jump start their lagging economy. Leaked documents suggest that this expediency might come at the cost of weakening the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA), a price that many Canadian environmentalists are not willing to pay.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the infamous stimulus package that is regarded as the much needed bandage to the ailing U.S. economy, is locked in Congressional tension. If passed, the Act would inject an almost $900 billion into federal programs and projects, with the explicit purpose of creating jobs, investing in infrastructure, advancing energy efficiency, and restoring credit confidence.
At the upcoming United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) Governing Council meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, delegates will have the unprecedented opportunity to extend the adoption of important principles – a peoples’ right to access information, participate in their government’s decision making process, and seek redress in matters affecting the environment – to states around the world. But in preliminary negotiations, not all delegations were sanguine about committing to spread the codification of these principles globally.