Photo: Canada's wildlife needs real protection, not more promises

Canada's biological diversity must be protected (Credit: Cathleen Shattuck via Flickr).

By Rachel Plotkin, Biodiversity Policy Analyst

I was surprised to hear the Conservative party pledge last week to create an advisory panel made up of hunters, fishers, and conservation groups to offer Ottawa advice on endangered species and wetland protection.

I was surprised, because I have been sitting on just such an advisory panel for the past six years. It was created by the Government of Canada and is a multi-stakeholder group that includes fish harvesters, organizations connected to hunting and fishing associations, cattle ranchers, miners, loggers, oil and gas associations and environmental organizations.

The committee is called the Species at Risk Advisory Committee and its objective is to promote the effective stewardship of Canada's biological diversity, and to provide advice on how to ensure Canada's wildlife receive the protection it needs to survive and thrive.

Frankly, it's refreshing to see endangered species and wetland protection make it into the headlines, but it seems a waste of taxpayers' money to suggest we need to create another committee to do what's already being done.

Politics aside, the metrics of meaningful action to protect species at risk will not be measured through committees or plans but, ultimately, though the magnitude of forest, field, ocean and wetland maintained, protected, and restored to facilitate species recovery and survival.

Canada's federal Species At Risk Act has fumbled out of the gates since coming into force over six years ago. What we really need to hear from our political leaders is a strong commitment to utilize its potential to actually deliver habitat protection for Canada's at-risk species.

April 11, 2011

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