Column misses point, B.C. lacks endangered species legislation

Victoria News
July 30, 2008

by Chris Genovali

Re: “Protecting species is everyone’s job” (Tom Fletcher, July 16)

The article’s argument that the B.C. government’s “advertising for more people to visit parks and get out fishing … might be more important to biodiversity than difficult-to-enforce endangered species laws” is facile at best.

Yes, it is a positive thing to motivate the citizenry to get outdoors and experience this province’s spectacular  wilderness areas, but to suggest that increased park visitation is an ample substitute for legislation to protect species is wildly off-base.

The BC government, the resource extraction industries, the sport hunting lobby and the IWA have fought tooth-and-nail for years to impede and prevent legislation to protect species from being introduced. Illustrating the extreme degree the province has gone in their obstructionism, at one point the government preposterously argued that the late, not so great, Forest Practices Code obviated the need for legislation to protect species.

It’s been an uphill battle, the upshot being that B.C., along with Alberta, continues to be the only province in Canada without a law to protect its threatened and endangered wildlife.

One point the article was spot on about is the negative influence on species and their habitats that will accompany escalating climate change.

Heretofore the impacts associated with future conditions as a result of climate change have not been factored into land-use planning processes anywhere in the province.

That gaping oversight needs to be addressed starting immediately as existing land use planning decisions will likely need to be modified in order to accommodate the climate change “elephant in the room.”

Chris Genovali,
Executive Director,
Raincoast Conservation

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