Une association inattendue vient à la rescousse du projet de loi

Le projet de loi C-65, proposé par le gouvernement fédéral afin de protéger le nombre croissant d’espèces en voie d’extinction, a été avorté. Le retrait de cette loi a engendré   la formation d’une association formée    de six groupes, connue sous l’appellation  « Species at Risk Working Group ».   Ce nouveau groupe veut ainsi assumer le rôle que devait  remplir le projet de   loi C-65.

Les groupes suivants composent le « Species at Risk Working Group » : l’Association des mines, la Fédération canadienne de la nature, l’Association des pâtes et papier,   le Club Sierra, le  Comité national de l’agriculture et de l’environnement et la Fédération
canadienne de la faune.

Au-delà de toute attente, le « Species  at Risk Working Group » a reçu énormément d’appui de la part de nombreux Canadiens, dont la Fédération canadienne des Municipalités et la Campagne  canadienne des espèces en voie d’extinction.

Help Support Effective Federal Endangered Species Legislation

The federal government will be tabling endangered species legislation in February, and all indications to date suggest that it will do little to protect Canada’s species at risk and their habitats. Over the next couple of months, it is critical that Canadians show their support for effective federal endangered species legislation.

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(photo: Jimmy Brown)

What You Can Do!

Canadians need to send a loud and clear message to the federal government that they will accept nothing less than effective legislation. Choose from one of the federal cabinet members below and/or write to your MP. Send copies of your letter to cabinet ministers that are located within your province, the Minister of the Environment, and the Prime Minister.

~ The Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister
~ The Honourable Christine Stewart, Minister of the Environment
~ The Honourable David Anderson, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
~ The Honourable Lyle Vanclief, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
~ The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Natural Resources
~ The Honourable Sheila Copps, Minister of Canadian Heritage

Address for all:
House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Conservationists and Industry Become Bedfellows
in Support of Endangered Species Protection

Marc Johnson
Canadian Nature Federation
November 1998

w.gif (482 bytes)hat does the Mining Association have in common with the Canadian Nature Federation? The Pulp and Paper Association with the Sierra Club? The National Agriculture Environment Committee with the Canadian Wildlife Federation? They all have an interest in finding practical solutions to protecting the country’s ever-increasing number of endangered species.

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(photo: Jimmy Brown)

And that’s what they’ve been doing. These strange bedfellows came together after the death of Bill C-65, the federal government’s proposed endangered species legislation. "No one liked the legislation," noted Rita Morbia of the Sierra Club "because it didn’t adequately protect species and its punitive approach put landowners and resource users on the defensive."

Representatives of the six groups originally met informally to see if they could find constructive ways to address the needs of both the species and those who will ultimately be involved in protecting them. Now known as the Species at Risk Working Group, these people strived to develop an approach to the conservation of species at risk that reflects Canada’s "originality, its cultures, and its ways of working through dialogue, consensus and partnerships."

What is the result of their collective efforts? No less than a made-in-Canada solution to protecting the country’s species at risk of extinction, involving cooperation between the federal and provincial governments, conservationists and resource users, scientists and property owners.

Impossible, you say. Well, their proposal has already received endorsement from a broad cross-section of Canadians, including the Canadian Federation of Municipalities and the Canadian Endangered Species Campaign.

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(photo: Jimmy Brown)

And what does the government think of all this? The Working Group has recently met with Christine Stewart, the federal Minister of the Environment, who will be tabling endangered species legislation early in the new year. They have also met with a number of other MPs and federal bureaucrats, all of whom have responded favorably to the proposal. Yet it remains to be seen whether the federal government will adopt the Working Group’s proposed model for endangered species protection in their legislation.

What’s next? The Working Group is circulating their document for review and endorsement by a wide variety of organizations and stakeholders across the country. For a copy of the Species at Risk Working Group document, "Conserving Species at Risk and Vulnerable Ecosystems, Proposals for Legislation and Programs", contact Marc Johnson at 1-800-267-4088.

Key elements of the Species at Risk Working Group Report

•A two-stream approach, which includes the conservation of vulnerable ecosystems and the conservation of species at risk

• Legislation and related programs must encourage, not discourage, all Canadians in cooperative partnerships to protect species and their habitats

• Legislation must ensure that no species will become extinct in Canada because of lack of legal protection

• The cost of preventing species extinction must be shared, not borne by a small group of land owners, resource users, workers and communities

• Listing decisions must be made by an independent, scientific body

• Habitat conservation is crucial for the protection of species at risk

• Exemptions for activities which would violate species at risk legislation should be made only on a case-by-case basis, with reasons for them made public

• Accountability will be ensured through strong, mandatory language in all legislation and through an administrative appeal process

• Adequate funding is essential for sound scientific research, to ensure adequate capacity to implement and oversee the protection of species at risk, to support recovery efforts, to ensure adequate enforcement, and where appropriate to provide compensation.

• Changes to the tax system are also essential in order to set the right fiscal framework for protection and to provide incentives for activities aimed at protecting and recovering species at risk and their habitats.

Federal Backpedaling

Bill C-65, the endangered species bill which the federal government failed to push through second reading before an election call in April 1997, fell far short of Canadians expectations. It failed to provide protection for over half of Canada’s species at risk, and provided almost no protection for their critical habitat. Now, the federal government seems to be backpedaling in other key areas, such as legal protection of cross-border species and the listing of species at risk.

What to Say ?

Let the federal government know that you want them to pass effective legislation. Federal endangered species legislation should provide:

• A strong federal safety net for Canada’s species at risk, particularly those that range or migrate across international or interprovincial borders.

• An independent scientific listing process, with legal force and effect given to the list.

• Protection for critical habitat, not merely the species "residence". Habitat loss is the number one cause for species decline in Canada. Put simply, if you don't protect the habitat, you don't protect the species.

• Protection for vulnerable species.

• A participatory approach that encourages Canadians to protect species and their habitats, and provides incentives for activities aimed at protecting and recovering species at risk and their habitats.

• Government accountability through strong, mandatory language in legislation and through an effective public appeal process.

• Adequate funding to ensure the effective protection and recovery of species at risk