Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Canadians are demanding immediate attention to protect the environment and Prime Minister Stephen Harper claims to be listening. He has appointed a new Minister of Environment, John Baird, to address the many concerns Canadians have about the environment.

In anticipation of an upcoming national election the rhetoric is flying and promises are being made. Today the iron is hot and any input will receive some attention from the office of the new minister. I encourage you to contact him. It is always wise to send a hard copy by snail mail but remember that e-mail, fax, and phone will each be processed by a different civil servant. The more people in the office that are made aware of your concerns the better. CC to related ministers at the same mailing address. Here is my letter welcoming the new minister:

The Honourable John Baird
Minister of the Environment
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Telephone: (613) 996-0984
Fax: (613) 996-9880
E-Mail: Baird.J@parl.gc.ca

Dear Minister,

I am glad to hear Prime Minister Harper is finally beginning to listen to the people of Canada with regards to the Environment, and has appointed you to this important portfolio. It is time that the federal government of Canada fully implements the Kyoto Protocol to which Canada is a signatory.

Living in British Columbia I am very concerned about three key issues that are currently being initiated by the provincial government and which should be stopped by your office, since they affect the country as a whole and therefore must comply with Canadian standards for the environment.

The public has been led to believe that offshore drilling in the coastal waters of British Columbia has been put to rest by the federal government’s continued support of a moratorium. However, the BC government continues to allow sonic testing on the ocean floor and acts as if the moratorium will be lifted in the near future. I encourage you to stand firm by maintaining the moratorium on offshore oil and gas explorations in BC. In 2004, the federal government asked British Columbians their views on the moratorium through a public process that involved 3,700 individuals, many of whom work and live on the coast of B.C. Seventy-five percent of the participants told the federal government they wanted the moratorium on offshore oil and gas maintained. 70 BC First Nations were involved in this review, all of them support the moratorium. BC voters continue to says no to offshore oil and gas.

Put pressure on the BC provincial government to stop plans to build 2 coal-burning power generated and associated open pit mines. On December 21, 2006 Environment Canada released new greenhouse gas emissions data showing that across Canada in 2005, coal-fired generating plants belched out 280 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and remained among the nation's biggest polluters. Since your office is committed to reducing gas emissions you must stop the BC government from building new coal-burning generators.

Stop all logging in what little remains of old growth forests in Canada. Science has determined that forests are extremely important to the life cycles and functions of this planet. Trees filter air by taking carbon, nitrogen, phosphates, and other airborne chemicals in the atmosphere and fixing them into the soil where they can provide nutrients, in turn producing vast amounts of oxygen. Rainforests redistribute water, functioning as huge sponges to retain water and pumping vast quantities of water back into the atmosphere. Large tracts of intact forest help to stabilize weather patterns both locally and globally. Biologists have also determined that a ‘healthy forest’ is made up of trees that are multi-aged, multi-species, multi-sized, and multi-layered. These types of variations are only found in old growth forests and are not found in tree plantations. In fact scientists have determined that the rainforests found in the low valley bottoms on the west coast of Vancouver Island have a biomass greater than anywhere on earth, meaning that the density of living organisms per square meter surpasses even the famous Amazon rainforest. On Vancouver Island less than 10% of the original old growth forests remains, they must be protected.

It is time that our federal government gives priority to protecting the environment. I encourage you to act as do most of the people that I know.

Sincerely, Richard Boyce, BFA, MFA
Errington, British Columbia

cc. Gary Lunn - Minister of Natural Resources (Lunn.G@parl.gc.ca)
Stephen Joseph Harper - Prime Minister (Harper.S@parl.gc.ca)

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