The Honourable Stéphane Dion Speaks about Canada's Project Green and Reviews a Year of Environmental Progress

Vancouver, BC - September 19, 2005 - Federal Environment Minister Stéphane Dion spoke today to members of the Vancouver Board of Trade, reconfirming the Government of Canada's commitment to both environmental sustainability and economic competitiveness. Minister Dion highlighted some of the many actions being taken by the federal government through the implementation of Project Green, the broad environmental vision that links Canada's economic competitiveness and prosperity to a sustainable future.

"Over the last year, Prime Minister Martin has given unprecedented momentum to Canada's environmental policy," affirmed Minister Dion. "Through the commitments emphasized in the Speech from the Throne, to the greenest Budget in the history of Confederation, the Government of Canada is moving forward on its environmental agenda - an agenda that points Canada's economic strategy and environmental policy in the same direction."

The policies and programs under Project Green address environmental initiatives for the 21st century, including measures to improve our energy efficiency and our waste management practices, conserve our biodiversity, protect our water, clean up contaminated sites, ensure cleaner and healthier air and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

On clean air, the Government of Canada is actively implementing its Ten Year Clean Air Agenda laid out in 2000. Some key elements of this Agenda include a strict regulatory action plan for vehicles, engines and fuels, which will reduce smog-forming emissions from new vehicles by 90 percent by 2010 compared with levels in 2000; a progressive plan to reduce sulphur in rail locomotives, marine vessels, and off-road construction and mining equipment; stricter transportation regulations; and the implementation of Canada-wide standards for particulate matter and ozone.

The Government of Canada's agenda for water is also substantial, and comprises the five year Water Management Strategy to improve water and wastewater services for First Nation reserve communities; the $28 million that the last Budget devoted to the first phase of the government's Oceans Action Plan; and the Canada-wide management strategy for municipal wastewater effluents currently in development.

Our natural assets will be safeguarded by the additional $269 million allocated by Budget 2004 to our National Parks. This is good news for the preservation of our natural environment, and good news for our economy.

Regarding contaminated sites, the Government of Canada will complete, within 15 years, the assessment, remediation and risk management of all of the estimated 6000 federal contaminated sites. In doing so, remediation will create new economic opportunities for affected communities, new jobs in the environmental industry, and new innovative technologies. For this fiscal year, 2005-2006, the federal government has committed $138.7 million to deal with the 97 highest risk sites identified under the action plan, some 30 of which exist in Canada's North.

To address imperative climate change concerns, the Government of Canada continues to take major steps in many areas as laid out in Moving Forward on Climate Change 2005 released last April 13. Implementation steps include - but are not limited to - the publication of a clear description of the proposed Large Final Emitters System (Summer 2005), with a draft regulation setting out the system's key elements forthcoming; the proposed addition of the six greenhouse gases to Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, already published in the Canada Gazette Part 1; the commencement of Climate Fund operations in early 2006, an investment bank of sorts to purchase reductions in greenhouse gas emissions; and the hosting of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal, November 28-December 9, 2005.

"Indeed, it has been a year of great accomplishment with respect to both environmental sustainability and economic competitiveness," stated Minister Dion. "We will continue to put Project Green into practice, and to work for all Canadians toward an economy that is doing more with less. We will continue to see more productivity and less waste - we are headed in the right direction."

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For more information, please contact:

André Lamarre
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of the Environment
(819) 997-1441

Sébastien Bois
Media Relations
Environment Canada
(819) 953-4016

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