A crisis of opportunity

Climate change isn't just a crisis. It's also an economic opportunity. But, in an interview with Public Eye, Environment Minister Barry Penner says the government won't be imposing any conflict of interest rules on climate action team members - who will be advising government on how to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Said Minister Penner, "We expect all members to conduct themselves ethically. And, certainly, if you take a look at the track record of the individuals selected" - who included everyone from businessmen to academics - "I think they're all outstanding citizens. And I'm pleased at the calibre of the people that have stepped forward."

"These are people from the real world who are doing real work," he continued. "And they're expected to provide us with advice - and it's just advice - that comes to government. At the end of the day, government will be responsible for the decisions that we make. The climate action team will be one of the very important sources of information. But we also have other sources of information or conduits into government."

But, despite all that, New Democrat environment critic Shane Simpson says team members should be required to let British Columbia know if they could stand to benefit from any of the measures they recommend. "I agree that this is a high-quality group of people. And I'm sure that they're all very upstanding and have integrity and ethics. But, just for sake of the process, I would expect at a minimum that any member of that team would be expected to at least declare a potential conflict - even if that may not preclude them from participating" in team discussions.

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