It’s time for B.C. to make a clear commitment. More of the same in B.C. isn’t going to cut it when it comes to protecting the province’s more than 1,900 at-risk species.
The province’s Species at Risk Task Force released a report earlier this year, which recommends tweaking existing legislation rather than bring in new, comprehensive protections for B.C.’s species.
We say that’s not nearly enough, and have made that clear in comments submitted to the task force.
The report’s greatest weakness is its failure to call for a standalone endangered species law, one that would guarantee B.C.’s vulnerable species — such as grizzly bears, spotted owls, and phantom orchids — the things they need to not just survive, but thrive once more.
Our comments, submitted in partnership with Sierra Club BC and Wilderness Committee, call on the province to focus on developing this standalone law, instead of wasting more time and effort on reworking legislation that has proven it doesn’t work.
We also believe that the report’s proposed ecosystem-based approach to species protection cannot stand on its own. It must be implemented in conjunction with a species-by-species approach because species and ecosystems, while inextricably linked, need different things to flourish.
B.C. is home to 75 per cent of Canada’s bird species, 70 per cent of its freshwater fish species and 66 per cent of its butterfly species. Currently, 87 per cent of species at risk in B.C. don’t receive any protection under provincial or federal laws.