From today's Vancouver Sun:
"B.C. was handed a major victory Thursday in a remarkably West-oriented federal budget that targeted three major barriers to resource industry growth - unnecessarily long and complicated environmental reviews, a skilled labour shortage, and opposition to the oilsands sector by environmental groups, the province's senior cabinet minister said Thursday.
But opposition MPs said the budget represented an "assault" on individuals and groups concerned about the pace of energy and natural resource developments.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's budget promised legislation to limit environmental reviews to no more than two years, and said from now on Ottawa will accept provincial assessments as the final word on many proposed projects.
Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore said the cumbersome federal review process has caused an investment "chill" in B.C.
He cited the federal decision to reject the proposed Prosperity gold and copper mine about 125 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake even though a provincial panel had approved the project, which proposed using a trout-bearing lake as a tailings pond. A new federal panel is reassessing a revised Prosperity proposal.
"It's what British Columbia has been asking for a decade, and we're delivering on it," said Moore, MP for Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam.
A starkly different message was sent to environmental groups that are waging an intense battle against the oilsands sector and especially Calgary-based Enbridge's proposal to build an oilsands pipeline to Kitimat.
The budget commits $8 million over the next two years to help the Canadian Revenue Agency target registered charities the government believes are too overtly political. The money will be used to "improve transparency by requiring charities to provide more information on their political activities, including the extent to which these are funded by foreign sources," according to budget documents.
The $8-million initiative was inspired entirely by work done on foreign funding of Canadian environmental groups by Vancouver researcher Vivian Krause, according to Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose."
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