Its a sad day when citizens have to take our own government to court to make them follow their own rules and even then there are no penalties for ignoring legislation that has been established for more than a decade.
A federal court judge found that the Canadian government has
been breaking the law in not following through on its obligations
under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). The act, established in 2003,
obliges the government to develop and implement recovery strategies
for animal species in Canada at risk of extinction.
In her ruling,
federal court Justice Anne L. Mactavish found that “there is
clearly an enormous systemic problem within the relevant Ministries,
given the respondents' acknowledgement that there remain some 167
species at risk for which recovery strategies have not yet been
Each were listed as a threatened species over five years ago,
and have been waiting for a recovery strategy since. Even more
important, each live in habitats that are directly impacted by
Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, either by its
route or by increased tanker traffic. The pipeline recently received
approval from the National Energy Board. This made the need for
recovery strategies even more pressing, but also meant that important
information on the pipeline's impact on these species was missing
from the hearings.
This isn't the first time that the government has been taken to
court over recovery strategies. Nixon says that Ecojustice has
already brought at least six similar cases forward. While they have
had success each time, it has become frustrating to both him and to
environmental organizations to have to fight for the protection of
each animal listed as at risk. Judicial supervision is about all that
can be expected, since like much legislation, there are no clear
penalties for when the government ignores what it is mandated to do.
Also at risk is our democracy!
A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.