New Law Promised for Criminal Calgary Pollution

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New Law Promised for Criminal Calgary Pollution

A few weeks ago, I shared my thoughts on a news story that described the inability for Calgary's government to force major corporate polluters from cleaning up the messes they've made in the city. You can read the full article here, but the gist of it goes something like this:

We're almost constantly passing legislation these days that imposes harsher sentences for low-level crimes, gives law enforcement agencies broader license to invade privacy without probable cause in their investigation of crimes, and otherwise spending taxpayer money on a criminal problem that doesn't exist to the degree you might think, and meanwhile egregious environmental offenders are getting off scot free.

Now, I can't take all the credit for the outcry, but it looks like someone might have been listening. According to a quote in a recent Calgary Herald article, we can expect "legislation with teeth" to actually hold some of Calgary's worst criminals—and no, it's not drug users, stroller thieves, or even drunk drivers—accountable for their actions.

Referring to a gas station spill in which at least 7,000 litres of gasoline leaked into the soil more than five years ago, and after which the company only made minimal efforts to contain the spill (to say nothing of cleaning it up), Environment Minister Shannon Phillips spoke in no uncertain terms about making sure future incidents were handled better.

"The Gas Plus issue has gone on far too long and I certainly feel for the families that have been forced to live with this mess for years," she said. "We are going to develop some legislation with teeth, and some legislation and regulations that protect the environment and health."

Exactly what legislative teeth will be crafted, and how we can be sure the jaw behind them has a willingness to bite, has yet to be seen, of course. The wheels of justice—and even more so, of government—turn slowly, and while I'm encouraged by the minister's comments I'm not exactly holding my breath while I wait for new legislation to be proposed, let alone adopted and enforced. It would be nice to see more governmental attention turned towards the criminals who are truly harming Calgary and its communities, though, and I would eagerly support any such legislation.

I'm also proud to continue supporting anyone and everyone who's been accused of a crime in Calgary or arrested by the Calgary Police or other law enforcement agency. Many of the laws you're facing, and possibly the system itself, are stacked against you, and having an experienced, knowledgeable, and determined criminal defence lawyer by your side can make a big difference for your future. You don't need to face the system alone—help is just a phone call away.

For a free initial consultation about your Calgary criminal defence case, please contact me today.