From the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting:
Canada now has a government dedicated to weakening science, but this is a world wide problem. This documentary reveals how science denial is weakening our ability to deal with the problems we are creating:
Press Release from the David Suzuki Foundation:
Grizzly bears deserve immediate legal protection in Canada
Study finds many bear populations are on the brink of extinction
For Immediate Release March 14, 2013
VANCOUVER – Grizzly bears could disappear from many parts of Canada unless action is taken to list them under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) and initiate immediate recovery efforts, including protecting their dwindling habitat in some regions.
That’s the conclusion of a David Suzuki Foundation study that analyzed provincial and federal government data on the status of grizzly populations across Western Canada. The report, Securing a National Treasure, revealed that 16 subgroups are on the brink of extinction in regions where they once flourished. This includes nine groups in south-central British Columbia and Alberta’s entire grizzly population, which remains vulnerable despite a recent hunting ban.
“Grizzly bears are at risk of disappearing completely from many parts of Western Canada, including all of southern B.C. and the South Coast Mountains, as well as a few subpopulations in west-central Alberta, unless immediate action is taken to list and protect them under the federal Species at Risk Act,” said Faisal Moola, a scientist with the David Suzuki Foundation. “We must protect this iconic symbol of Canadian wilderness, which plays such a critical role in the maintenance of a healthy ecosystem,” he added.
The Foundation’s report comes on the heels of an assessment by Canada’s expert science panel on species at risk, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), which found that although healthy populations of grizzlies remain in much of Canada’s remote northern wilderness, southern populations in Alberta and B.C. are in trouble as a result of shrinking habitat and excessive human-caused mortality. For this reason, scientists have formally declared the animal a species of “special concern” that should be added to the official List of Wildlife Species at Risk (Schedule 1) under the Species at Risk Act.
Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent received COSEWIC’s formal recommendation last fall and must now decide whether to legally list grizzly bears under the Species at Risk Act, reject listing, or refer the matter back to COSEWIC for further study.
“For the second time in 10 years, the federal government’s advisory panel on wildlife has strongly recommended legally listing and protecting grizzly bears,” Moola said. “Five different environment ministers, Liberal and Conservative, have failed to act on the scientists’ advice. We hope Canada’s current environment minister will listen to the experts and take action to save this iconic species.”
Canada’s grizzly bears are among the most vulnerable large mammals on the continent for a number of reasons, including low reproductive rates; increasing pressures from resource extraction, such as oil and gas development; climate change and death from sport hunting, control kills and poaching.
“First Nations have shared the land with bears for thousands of years,” said Douglas Neasloss, a renowned bear guide and leader with the Kitasoo/XaixaisBand Council in B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest. “We not only revere the animal in our culture but also depend on it as part of the sustainable tourism industry we are trying to create so that people from around the world can come to see bears in the wild,” he added. “We must implement legislative measures to protect and recover grizzly bears before it’s too late.”
The Species at Risk Act is the key legislative tool for protecting declining species, such as blue whales, caribou and rare plants like butternut trees in Canada. If grizzly bears are successfully added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk (Schedule 1) under the Species at Risk Act as a species of “special concern”, the government will have to initiate formal measures to protect and recover the species, including creation of a management plan and other conservation measures.
“This is the result of our government’s realistic, sector-by-sector approach to reducing emissions, while continuing to create jobs and encourage economic growth,” Kent told reporters Wednesday.
Of course, those of us who have watched the Conservatives since they gained the majority know that practically nothing they say is true, as this news release from the David Suzuki Foundation confirms:
Federal climate report misleads Canadians
Government is taking credit for provincial action
For Immediate Release August 8, 2012
VANCOUVER – The federal government is misleading Canadians with its latest report on greenhouse gas emissions trends. Despite the claims made by Environment Minister Peter Kent, the government has done very little to achieve its weak targets.
“The federal government is attempting to take credit for climate change action taken by the provinces, while gutting and cutting programs and institutions that had been helping with climate policy,” says Ian Bruce, David Suzuki Foundation climate change and clean energy specialist.
As noted in the David Suzuki Foundation report “All Over the Map 2012: A Comparison of Provincial Climate Change Plans”, much of Canada’s emissions reductions can be attributed to provincial initiatives such as Ontario’s phase out of coal-fired power, Nova Scotia’s regulations to cap and reduce coal emissions, B.C.’s carbon tax incentive for clean energy, and Quebec’s public transit improvements.
Meanwhile, the government has cut institutions such as the national Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, and been criticized by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada for the lack of a clear plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In October 2011, the Environment Commissioner reported that the federal government’s strategy is “disjointed, confused and non transparent” and that the government’s policies are now projected to be 90 per cent weaker than they were in 2007.
The figures released today by the federal government are also based on revised baselines and accounting rules for greenhouse gas pollution.
“Rather than trying to put a positive spin on its lack of accountability on the environment, the federal government should join forces with leading provincial governments to help Canada become a world leader in solving global warming,” Bruce says. “With this summer shaping up to be the hottest on record, Canadians need and deserve real action on global warming, which would provide numerous economic and health benefits. The government must start representing the interests of all Canadians and not just the oil industry.”
- Peter Kent’s department discouraged media coverage of global warming summit, says memo (o.canada.com)
- Panel sends Harper “reality check” on global warming (blogs.canada.com)
- Mercury contaminating bird eggs in oilsands region: Environment Canada (canada.com)
- Peter Kent says budget bill to eliminate thousands of environmental assessments (vancouversun.com)
- ‘Elevated risk’ of caribou disappearing from oilsands region, memo tells Peter Kent (canada.com)
- Obscure and unloved: Federal government spurns a chance to help boost three endangered species (vancouversun.com)
With support from all parties, Elizabeth May‘s bill could stop the trade of sharkfins in Canada. Here is the newsrelease from Wild Aid:
Green Party Leader Introduces Bill to End Shark Fin Trade in Canada
Victoria, British Columbia (April 19, 2012) – After working closely with
conservation group WildAid for the past 6 months, Canadian MP and Green Party Leader
Elizabeth May announced legislation on Wednesday that, if fully implemented, will amend
the Fish Inspection Act and Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act in the hopes of ending
the shark fin trade Canada.
“Elizabeth May’s bill is another key step in the growing campaign to address the global
shark fin trade,” said Rob Sinclair, Executive Director of WildAid Canada. “Her action
could effectively lead to end of the shark fin trade in Canada, which would be the first
federal shark fin ban in the western world.”
Should it pass, May’s bill will require shark products to include written documentation of
the species and country of origin, as well as a label showing that mercury contamination
may make the product unfit for human consumption.
Shark fin soup is a key reason why one-third of the world’s open-ocean shark species are
now threatened with extinction. Fins from up to 73 million sharks are used every year to
make shark fin soup and related food products.
While the practice of shark finning is prohibited by regulation in Canada and the U.S.,
current federal laws banning shark finning do not address the issue of the international
shark fin trade. Therefore, fins are being sold to North America from countries with few or
even no shark protection in place.
Over four million Canadians now live in jurisdictions that have banned shark fin. The
Canadian cities of Toronto, Mississauga, London, Oakville, Pickering, Newmarket and
Brantford have all ended the practice. U.S. state bans have passed recently in California,
Hawaii, Washington and Oregon and bans have been started in seven other states.
WildAid is the only organization to focus on reducing the demand for wildlife products
with the strong and simple message: when the buying stops, the killing can too. WildAid
works with Asian and Western celebrities and business leaders to dissuade people from
purchasing wildlife products via public service announcements and educational initiatives.
For more information, please visit http://www.wildaid.org/canada.
- Neurotoxins in shark fins: A human health concern (sciencedaily.com)
- Thousands of Shark Fins Found on Hong Kong Sidewalk (treehugger.com)
- Shark fin ban gathers steam in Maryland and beyond (environmenteng.wordpress.com)
This will no doubt become a trend, as Parks Canada, under a Conservative government, resorts to allowing private enterprise to mar one of the natural wonders of this great national park. The Disney-fication of our National Parks has begun. Here is the full release from the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society which has steadfastly opposed this project:
Ottawa — The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is disappointed that Parks Canada has approved a proposal by Brewster Canada Ltd. for the controversial Glacier Discovery Walk in Jasper National Park.
The development will result in a 300-metre walkway and massive glass-floored “skywalk” along the Icefields Parkway in Jasper National Park, replacing a highway pullout where park visitors can currently park their vehicles and enjoy the free view.
Since the project was first made public, CPAWS has opposed this development proposal, as have many other organizations and individuals from across Canada. “We’re opposed to this massive development because the long-term impact it may have on wildlife in the area, including mountain goats and other sensitive species, is simply not known,” says Éric Hébert-Daly, CPAWS National Executive Director, based in Ottawa.
This type of development also contradicts the National Parks Policy which states that: “Only outdoor activities which promote the appreciation of a park’s purpose and objectives, which respect the integrity of the ecosystem, and which call for a minimum of built facilities will be permitted.”
CPAWS has kept its supporters informed on this issue, generating thousands of letters of opposition from Canadians to the government and the Parks Canada Agency.
“We’re extremely disappointed with this decision. The Canada National Parks Act states that ecological integrity shall be the first priority when managing the parks and we don’t believe that this decision reflects this priority,” adds Calgary-based Anne-Marie Syslak, Executive Director of CPAWS Southern Alberta Chapter.
CPAWS supports appropriate opportunities within our national parks for people to grow their appreciation of nature and the special ecosystems they protect. However, projects like this are not suitable within our national park boundaries. A similar US project went ahead in the Grand Canyon, but outside the park boundaries.
“We don’t feel that thrill-seeking experiences such as a glass-bottomed viewing platform offer the type of activity within national parks that builds people’s appreciation of nature,” says CPAWS Northern Alberta chapter Executive Director Kelly Sloan.
“We’re also concerned about the direction Parks Canada is taking by approving this type of development, which appears to be driven by commercial rather than ecological considerations. The agency should have more stringent filters on their management plans and decision-making processes to protect the ecological values and natural landscapes of our national parks,” adds Hébert-Daly.
Make yourself heard on this: visit: Jasper is our national park not a theme park!
- The Government is considering privatising a section of Jasper National Park (theinspiredpacker.wordpress.com)
- Jasper glacier walk targeted by online petition (cbc.ca)
- Thousands sign on to petition protesting Jasper trail, observation deck (vancouversun.com)
- Jasper National Park puts glacier walk decision on ice (vancouversun.com)
- Thousands sign on to petition protesting Jasper trail, observation deck (canada.com)
- Jasper glacier skywalk decision delayed (cbc.ca)