Dogwood Initiative's founding Board member gets influential job with Privy Council

The staff and board of Dogwood Initiative are happy to congratulate our colleague David Boyd–one of our founding Board members, and currently a member of our Advisory Round Table–on his new position as a policy analyst at the Privy Council.

David is among the brightest minds and keenest thinkers working on environmental, Aboriginal and legal issues in Canada. It’s nice to know there are some big brains with integrity working on our behalf in Ottawa.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with his work, David is an environmental lawyer and author. His most recent report Sustainability within a Generation reportedly is what led to his current position. Apparently, after Prime Minister Paul Martin read the report he ordered his bureaucrats to put in place its recommendations. As a result, David was hired and began work in the Privy Council Office on March 1.

David is also the author of two other noteworthy books. Unnatural Law: Rethinking Canadian Environmental Law and Policy provides incisive insights into current obstacles inhibiting sustainability in Canada, and practical solutions to our growing environmental problems. He was also the editor of Northern Wild, a collection of the best contemporary Canadian nature writing.

David is the former Executive Director of the Sierra Legal Defence Fund, Canada’s leading public interest environmental law organization. He has argued cases at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada, for clients ranging from the Council of the Haida Nation to the Council of Canadians.

David also taught environmental law and policy in Simon Fraser University’s graduate Resource and Environmental Management program from 1997 to 1999. He has been a Senior Associate at the POLIS Project at the University of Victoria, focusing on developing practical ways to incorporate ecological principles into our legal and economic systems.

Recently David has been pursuing a PhD at the University of British Columbia.

An avid marathon runner and outdoorsman, David’s recent Sustainability within a Generation report puts forward ambitious but achievable proposals for “the next generation of environmental laws and policies” in Canada.

Mr. Boyd’s report calls for controversial actions many of which the Martin government has so far refused to take a position on. For example, he calls for the federal government to maintain a moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration, put an end to billions of dollars in subsidies to the forest, mining, fishing, fossil fuel, agricultural and nuclear industries, and end nuclear power generation and large-scale hydroelectric projects completely.

While there is no better person than David to shepherd these ideas into implementation, the problem has never been a lack of good ideas, it has been a lack of the political will to go beyond rhetoric and make the tough decisions necessary to make Canada a model of sustainability.

David’s hiring at Martin’s behest is a good sign, but Martin’s government is going to have to go beyond talk to make sustainability a reality. Current rumours that Martin’s government doesn’t plan on forcing Canada’s industries to carry their share of greenhouse gas emission reductions isn’t a good sign.

Conservative party environment critic Bob Mills has criticized the report and the hiring of Mr. Boyd, calling its proposals pie in the sky and predicting that Martin would be slow to implement them, if he moved at all. Let’s hope that this is not one of the few times that Conservative party critiques are on target.

Click here for more on David’s Sustainability within a Generation.

We wish David the best of luck and await evidence of his brilliant mind in Martin’s actions and proposals.

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