[Sust-mar] Save the Canadian Environmental Network!

GoodWork Green Jobs p2 at planetfriendly.net
Fri Oct 14 13:44:21 EDT 2011

[as posted to http://PlanetVolunteer.net ]


Please contact your MP to ask the government to reconsider this decision.

Find your MP: http://parl.gc.ca/SenatorsMembers.aspx



Fri 14 Oct 2011

Future uncertain for network of over 640 environmental groups

Today, the Canadian Environmental Network (RCEN), one of Canada's oldest, largest, and most well-respected democratic institutions serving the environmental concerns of all Canadians, was forced to lay off its staff and is on the verge of closing its doors and those of its 11 regional offices.

The Network demands to know why it is being shut out of communications with Environment Canada regarding the promised funding for fiscal year 2011-2012. Neither Environment Minister Peter Kent nor his departmental officials have explained why they are not delivering on their promise of continued core funding for the Network, which comprises its key environmental constituency across Canada.

"The Canadian Environmental Network received a letter from Environment Canada in May this year stating their intent to continue core funding in the amount of $547,000 for the current fiscal year. In keeping with our over three-decades-long partnership, we ask that EC honour this letter," said Olivier Kolmel, Chair of the RCEN.

"The RCEN consists of over 640 highly diverse large and small, rural and urban organisations from coast to coast to coast. The Network forms an invaluable and irreplaceable grid of communication among environmentally concerned Canadians and the Government of Canada. A huge part of our understanding of environmental issues, and traditional indigenous, community, and scientific knowledge and experience has reached Canadians' kitchen tables largely due to the existence of the Canadian Environmental Network," said Larry McDermott, Aboriginal Representative and Director of the RCEN, and Executive Director of Plenty Canada.

"For the past nearly 34 years, the RCEN has functioned as the formalised mechanism through which Canadians contribute to policy, legislation, and environmental management in this country. Without the RCEN, this important community-based knowledge coming from every part of Canada will be lost. The fate of our environment will be jeopardised by cutting this important voice for Canadians," said Maggie Paquet, RCEN Board member representing British Columbia.

"The RCEN is the epitome of what democracy in this country has always strived to achieve. The Network allows small and large organisations alike the opportunity to stand side-by-side and be part of the Government of Canada's decision-making. The loss of the Network would be a tragic loss for democracy and for all Canadians," said Stephen Hazell, former Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada and of the Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society.

The Canadian Environmental Network is urging every Canadian to speak up for democracy and the rights of Canadians to have an effective means of communicating and understanding environmental issues and sharing the knowledge and expertise. We urge Environment Canada to renew its partnership with the Canadian Environmental Network and save this critically important Canadian institution.

The collaborative and democratic partnership model that EC and the RCEN have created is the envy of countries worldwide. The RCEN is considered widely as the best environmental network in the world. It is essential that this remarkable network be acknowledge and supported for the health and wellbeing of our country and all Canadians.


Canadian Environmental Network / Réseau Canadien de l'Environnement (RCEN)









October 14, 2011

[Mr/Ms John/Jane Doe, MP]

House of Commons

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Call to Preserve the Federal Government's Partnership with the Canadian Environmental Network

Dear MP,

I am writing to solicit your assistance in ensuring the continuity of a 34-year partnership between Environment Canada and the Canadian Environmental Network (RCEN). With our core funding having just today been cancelled and all staff laid-off as of tomorrow, we are seeking political champions. We request a meeting with you to discuss how to urgently and effectively re-establish this partnership.

The Canadian Environmental Network is composed of over 640 diverse community organizations, urban and rural, and from coast to coast to coast; a membership that accounts for at least 630,000 individuals directly involved through their groups. The Canadian Environmental Network has served as a critical consultative mechanism, and has most successfully coordinated transparent and constructive collaboration between Environment Canada and its stakeholders for the past three and a half decades.

This partnership has produced many noteworthy achievements. These include the development of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act; reforms to the Federal Environmental Assessment Review Office to create the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency in 1987; extensive work on Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's Green Plan in 1990; numerous initiatives, such as those on toxic substances, including the Chemicals Management Plan; and the Comprehensive Air Management System that was endorsed by the CCME in November 2010.

The strategic importance of this partnership also touches on economic considerations and social wellbeing. The RCEN has helped maintain and strengthen the foundation of our country's economy by fostering collaboration that enhances operating certainty for Canadian businesses. Our partnership also makes a difference to Canadians "on the ground" in all our communities. Through the years, we have seen the creation of many jobs, and can account for many millions of dollars in terms of volunteer hours invested in promoting and seeing-through numerous federal projects and programmes. Over the decades, the RCEN has actively supported initiatives that range from Habitat Stewardship in Alberta, to waste and smog reduction in Toronto, and youth-led plantings of native species in Montréal. These remarkable examples only scratch the surface of what has been an internationally emulated model of collaboration that serves the interests and values of all Canadians.

I urge you to do everything in your power to ensure that this partnership continues. Please discuss our urgent situation with your colleagues in Parliament and with Minister Peter Kent. I would be pleased to meet with you to discuss our past work with Environment Canada and your recommendations to keep this alliance intact in the coming months and years. Please consider becoming a champion of the Canadian Environmental Network.



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