Economy, environment linked - Kennedy |
By The Canadian Press
Montreal - Anyone believing there is a choice between a healthy environment and
a strong economy should know it's a "false choice," Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.,
Kennedy, one of the Kennedy political dynasty in the United States who is
renowned as an empassioned defender of the environment, made the comments at a
Canadian Bar Association conference.
The nephew of slain U.S. president John F. Kennedy, lamented what he saw as a
trend among lawmakers in the United States and Canada to soften environmental
He also scoffed at the "inevitable" excuse that the time has come where it is
necessary to choose between environmental protection and a strong economy.
"That is a false choice," Kennedy insisted.
"In 100 per cent of the situations, good environmental policy is identical to
good economic policy."
Kennedy said the economy should be measured by how it produces jobs and how it
protects and preserves community assets over the generations.
"If on the other hand, we want to do what they've been urging us to do in
Ottawa and on Capitol Hill, which is to treat the planet as if it was a
business in liquidation, to convert our natural resources to cash as quickly as
possible, to have a few years of pollution-based prosperity, we can generate an
instantaneous cash flow and the illusion of a prosperous economy.
"But our children are going to pay for our joy ride. And they're going to pay
for it with denuded landscapes and poor health and huge cleanup costs that are
going to amplify over time," he said.
"Environmental injury is deficit spending. It's the way of loading the costs of
our generation's spending on to the backs of our children."
He said people only had to look at the poor state of countries that had not
protected the environment, unlike the U.S. and Canada.
Kennedy, a former New York district attorney, said he believed that making
polluters accountable is compatible with a free market economy.
"In a true free market economy, you can't make yourself rich without making
your neighbours rich and without enriching your community. What polluters do is
make themselves rich by making everybody else poor."
The association represents 38,000 lawyers.