Green charity attack ads won't rattle government's plans: Minister
By Daniel Proussalidis ,Parliamentary Bureau
First posted: Monday, May 07, 2012 06:42 PM EDT | Updated: Monday, May 07, 2012 06:47 PM EDT
OTTAWA - Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver is hitting back at environmental activists and opposition politicians who call the March federal budget "anti-environment."
"Opposition parties and certain environmental groups today again came out against jobs, growth, and economic prosperity," said Oliver, in defending the sweeping changes announced in the recent budget. Those include speeding up regulatory reviews for major resource projects and only allowing foreign charitable donations to go toward disaster-relief, humanitarian aid, or "activities in the national interests of Canada."
Environmental activists, including Greenpeace and the David Suzuki Foundation, have launched an expensive print and online attack ads aimed at the Tory plans.
"Proposed changes to Canadian law will weaken environment rules and silence the voices of those who seek to defend them," says one online ad.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says she fears the undefined term "national interests" will give the minister the power to cut funding from foreign sources - mostly billionaire American foundations - going to environmental charities.
The Conservatives have slammed foreign foundations for the millions of dollars they've dumped on Canadian groups to oppose the oilsands.
Environment Minister Peter Kent has even suggested some groups have "laundered" the money, but Oliver shied away from that language.
"I haven't used that term and I don't believe people are being accused of criminal activity," said Oliver.
Meanwhile, the minister is defending the fact the plans are part of the federal budget bill, saying they will be passed into law faster that way.
"What we want to do is get on with an extremely important piece of legislation," said Oliver.
He promises that a special finance sub-committee will examine the proposals before they are made law.http://www.torontosun.com/2012/05/07/gr ... s-minister