Enviro minister tells Suzuki to 'chill'

Environment Minister Peter Kent talks to members of the media on Parliament Hill in Ottawa,...

Environment Minister Peter Kent talks to members of the media on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, December 12, 2011. Chris Roussakis/QMI Agency

Daniel Proussalidis, Parliamentary Bureau

, Last Updated: 3:17 PM ET

Canada's environment minister has some advice for environmental activist David Suzuki.

"I would respectfully suggest that Mr. Suzuki chill a little bit," Peter Kent said Thursday in Toronto.

The minister was responding to a David Suzuki Foundation online form letter campaign targeting senators for "doing a disservice to all Canadians" in their ongoing debate about rich foreign foundations that fund environmental charities on only one side of Canadian policy debates.

Senators have cited activists' work against the oilsands and various pipeline proposals as examples.

"I think the Senate has been doing fine work in terms of investigating foreign funds that have been coming into some of our environmental discussions in Canada and channelled through Canadians charitable agencies," Kent said.

Then Kent poured new oil onto the fire.

"These funds have raised questions about exactly where they're from, what they're meant to do, and how they're effectively, in some cases, being laundered by the Canadian charitable agencies that receive and use this funding," he said.

He didn't name any specific groups suspected of the crime of "laundering" money, but did say that some of the foreign money is meant "to block the legitimate and responsible development" of natural resources.

Kent's comments come as the Conservatives push for faster environmental assessments for major resource projects, alarming NDP environment critic Megan Leslie.

"Government talks about streamlining the process, but I consider it to be dismantling the process," Leslie said.

Leslie argues the environmental assessment process could be faster if the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency had a bigger budget.


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