Budget bill gives Harper cabinet free hand on environmental assessments

The Harper government is giving a wide range of new powers to cabinet ministers to decide the scope of environmental assessments, as it proceeds with an omnibus budget bill that overhauls the way Ottawa will review major resource projects.

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver has promoted the legislative changes as providing greater certainty to investors keen to develop Canada’s vast resources. But in some major ways, the government will make the system more opaque and subject to ministerial discretion. Read more …