The professional reliance model was used to determine a permit for the controversial contaminated soil site in Shawnigan Lake. (File photo)

Editorial: Professional reliance model review vital to future

There’s no getting around the clear conflict of interest.

It sounds about as exciting as watching paint dry.

But it’s vital that people pay attention and start talking about it, preferably to the provincial government.

The new NDP government has announced a review of the province’s professional reliance model for deciding whether resource projects can go ahead or not.

What you need to consider is that this was the much-maligned model used to give the go-ahead for the Shawnigan Lake contaminated soil site.

Under the professional reliance model it is not independent, government employees that give environmental assessments for projects, it is paid industry professionals, often the same ones that have done work for the project proponents.

There’s no getting around the clear conflict of interest (even if there isn’t one in the legal sense). It’s not that the professionals giving the assessments are bad, corrupt people. They are not. We don’t believe there’s intentional twisting of, or misrepresentation of data. But there cannot help but be an unconscious bias favouring the project. That’s just human nature.

The reason for the use of the professional reliance model is obvious: money. It’s a way to not have as many government employees whose job it would be to impartially assess projects as they come up. But are we being penny wise and pound foolish here, to use a British idiom?

Of course government employees can still have their biases, but at least it wouldn’t be built into the system.

We would avoid the whole murky question of who’s paying and for what that can hang like a cloud over the eventual decision, leaving people uneasy and even angry.

At any rate, now is the chance to have your say on the subject. The province is listening: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/govtogetherbc/consultation/professional-reliance-review/

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Based at the Cowichan Sportsplex, Playcare is a program aimed at promoting physical literacy skills through fun and exciting games and activities. (Citizen file)
Free after-school program offered at Cowichan Sportsplex

PacificSport holding Playcare twice a week

The Cowichan Steelheads’ Jesus Martinez (left) and the Cowichan 49ers’ Daryl Rodgers chase down the ball during Saturday night’s all-Cowichan clash at the Sherman Road turf. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan masters derby takes unexpected turn

Soccer commnity comes together in midst of battle

Kerry Park Islanders defenceman Taylor Webb emerges with the puck from a scrum along the boards during Saturday’s home game against the Saanich Predators. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Optimized results keep Kerry Park Islanders rolling

Several forwards hitting or nearing career highs just six games into season

Our Home on 8th, the Port Alberni Shelter that opened in March 2019, has 27 extra ‘extreme weather’ spaces for people who need a place to get out of the cold. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
BC VOTES 2020: Mid-Island candidate plans occupation of shelter to protest homelessness

Graham Hughes says homeless situation a ‘crisis’ in Port Alberni

Parksville’s Jared Huggan won $75,000 playing BC/49. (BCLC/Photo submitted)
Vancouver Island man $75K richer after purchasing winning lottery ticket at Nanaimo Walmart

Parksville’s Huggan plans to purchase electric bike for partner

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

One of the squirrels who ended up having their tails amputated after getting them stuck together with tree sap. (Facebook/Wild ARC)
Squirrels recovering from tail amputation after sap situation near Victoria

BC SPCA Wild ARC says squirrels will be released back into wild, fifth sibling was euthanized

Most Read