17 U. Brit. Colum. L. Rev. 35 (1983)
The Enforcement of Environmental Law: Taking the Environment Seriously

handle is hein.journals/ubclr17 and id is 41 raw text is: THE ENFORCEMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAW:
TAKING THE ENVIRONMENT SERIOUSLY
MURRAY RANKINt
PETER FINKLE*
Introduction
Environmental law in Canada has developed slowly during the
last two decades. While the rise and popularization of the environ-
mental movement of the sixties and early seventies did encourage
the creation of a federal Department of Environment and many
provincial counterparts and facilitated the passage of a number of
pieces of legislation as well, there is some question as to how sub-
stantial an impact these institutions and legislation have made on
Canadian society.
One problem which has beset the development of adequate en-
vironmental legislation is the significant gap which has opened up
between the words on paper, the black letter law, and the actual
actions undertaken by politicians and officials to implement that
law. The gap between words and action is obscured from adequate
analysis, because contemporary Canadian legal analysis views legis-
lation and court decisions as quite separate from the behaviour of
politicians, officials and judges toward the legislation. It is often
said by jurists, lawyers and public officials that a good, strict law
exists, but that there is a lack of public or political will to enforce
that law. This explanation obscures and ignores how the legal pro-
cess appears to those subject to it and, worse, encourages the par-
ticipants in the legal process to view their respective roles indepen-
dently.
For example, it is not unusual to find a piece of environmental
protection legislation which declares, albeit in a vague and general
fashion, that pollution contrary to a statute (or regulations or a
t Of the Faculty of Law, University of Victoria.
* Of the School of Public Administration, University of Victoria.
@ Murray Rankin and Peter Finkle, 1983.

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