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Critical Habitats Left Unprotected Puts Endangered Species At Risk

I don't know about you, but normally when I hear about a government being taken to court for not obeying the laws of the land, it's not usually while they are still in power. But that's what's happening to Prime Minister Steven Harper's Conservative Party of Canada government.

I'm not talking about some nuisance suit or personal vendetta brought about by a vindictive ex politician with an axe to grind. This is a genuine suit aimed at forcing the government to live up to the letter of the law when it comes to the protection of Scientists warn the summer ice pack could vanish from the Arctic by the year 2040. At the same time the winter ice would be reduced from its current ten-foot thickness to three feet.

The impact this would have upon wildlife and the environment in not only the Arctic but the rest of North America as well is almost too severe to imagine. Already we are hearing reports of polar bears starving to death due to their inability to hunt during the summer season because of the thinning ice pack. One can imagine only too well what will happen to their population in the far North if the predictions for the next thirty years follow the patterns predicted by these scientists.

Given these circumstances and the others around the world, protection of habitant becomes more and more essential not just as a means for specific species preservation, but as a means of ensuring environmental integrity. Knowing all this it makes the government not complying with the act even more negligent.

They don't even deny the fact that of the past thirty recovery plans for endangered species, only five have included habitat protection, and three of those were in already protected areas. Their excuse that there are many interested parties in the land doesn't wash at all.

In fact I would think the fact that so people have "vested interests" in what's done with the land should be a clue to how necessary it is to supply the designation of critical habitat to an area. If so many people have a "vested interest" it means someone is going to want to do something with the land. If they are allowed the animal who was supposed to have been protected, will have far less chance at recovery because of the degradation of their environment.

I remember reading an interview with the late Gerald Durrell, the British Naturalist and Conservationist. In it he was talking about how governments pay lip service to the idea of endangered species preservation with laws that are meaningless. Unless they were prepared to ensure the survival of habitat as part of the law, the paper they are written would best off be used in an outhouse.

There have been many times when I've disagreed with various government policy decisions, and I consider that par for the course. But when a government enacts legislation that makes them look good on paper (and in the papers) that doesn't really do anything it's an entirely different matter. It means they don't have the integrity or the balls to stand up for their own beliefs, and feel compelled to sneak around behind everyone's back.

We aren't the only inhabitants of this world, we share it with numerous other creatures and plants. But we use up a disproportionate amount of space and energy compared to our neighbours. Only occasionally do they intrude upon us and that's usually only if we've built right on top of their homes, or in their territory, but they are the ones who either learn to adjust or move.

Don't you think it would be nice if on occasion we humans returned that favour, and left their homes alone so that they could get on with the business of living without having to worry about being shot, or dying from the drinking water?

Canada is one of the few countries in the world that has an endangered species program if properly implemented would allow an animal or plant under threat of extinction the opportunity to recover. Unfortunately our government doesn’t seem to want to live up to their obligation when it comes to this act and would be perfectly content with never protecting another square inch of habitat.

They are the loudest complainers when it comes to the courts of Canada "ruling the country instead of the legislature", but if they ever learned how to obey the laws of the country, or understand the constitution that wouldn't be such a problem. When the courts up hold the law of the land one more time and find against the government, maybe Steven Harper and the Conservatives will finally learn the difference between right and wrong.

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