It’s the Friday afternoon before a long weekend, and the great outdoors is calling. But while many Canadians prepare to spend the next few days enjoying our spectacular natural heritage, the federal government is turning its back on our fisheries, wildlife, forests and seas.
A few months ago, WWF called on Canadians to take notice of the measures embedded in Bill C-38, the federal omnibus budget bill. We pointed to the gutting of the Fisheries Act, fewer protections for endangered species, and a weakened environmental assessment process. And we predicted that all of this could help pave the way to bring oil pipelines and oil tanker traffic into one of Canada’s ecological treasures, the Great Bear Sea.
Over the past few weeks, the news in Canada and the United States has been full of stories highlighting the inevitability of oil spills, and the complete inability of our current technologies to prevent them from happening, to clean them up, or to restore the ecosystems they damage. In the face of this news, one would hope to see our government tighten regulations, develop stronger environmental standards, and acknowledge that some places are simply too precious to put at risk.
Instead, we see the opposite. Today the federal government confirmed the provisions of its weakened environmental assessment of the proposed Northern Gateway project: a fast-tracked process, with narrowly-defined environmental criteria, and within which the review panel no longer even has the authority to overturn the proposal on environmental grounds.
And so, as we predicted, our jobs – and yours – just got harder, and more important than ever. The proposal that threatens the future of the Great Bear, one of our globally important spaces, is a rallying cry to us all.
This weekend, enjoy the landscapes and wild places you love. Think about how these places – and our globally significant ecosystems, like the Great Bear – define our country.
And most of all, don’t let this moment slide by unnoticed. Join us in taking a stand in this one remarkable place, on this crucial issue. Share the news of what is happening widely within your network. And, if you have not already, become a Canadian for the Great Bear. Together we can choose a sustainable future for Canada.