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The Canadian Environmental Network, a central body that coordinates over 600 environmental groups, may not be around much longer. Environment Minister Peter Kent recently announced that the Federal Government will no longer be providing the funding that has always made up the bulk of the CEN’s budget.

One of the values of the CEN was its role in bringing together environmental groups to discuss issues and participate in federal consultations. By acting as a coordinating body, the CEN supported smaller groups to ensure that both these regional groups and large national NGOs were able to participate in policy development.

Non-governmental groups are often called upon to provide sophisticated policy analyses in response to proposed changes to environmental law and policy. Without the CEN,  environmental responses to public policy may well be slower, fewer, and less well organized. That should reduce the environmental voice in multi-stakeholder consultation across the country.

Are the federal Conservatives really using their power over the public purse to silence their opponents, especially those critical of the tar sands? Franke James thinks she is been blacklisted because of her opposition to the tar sands, and has therefore been cut off from consular support for her art around the world. Is there a pattern here?

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