A coalition of environmental groups today served Federal Environment Minister Rona Ambrose with a petition giving her 60 days to step in to protect two endangered plants in Alberta or face a lawsuit. Alberta Wilderness Association, Federation of Alberta Naturalists, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Sierra Club of Canada and Nature Canada, represented by Sierra Legal Defence Fund, are threatening the suit to test the federal government’s intention to protect Canada’s endangered wildlife.
“When Canadians were assured by the federal government that the Species at Risk Act would protect all of Canada’s endangered plants and animals, were they being told the truth?” asked Rachel Plotkin of Sierra Club. “This case will reveal the answer.”
The Species at Risk Act, while a national law, does not apply in the provinces unless the federal cabinet orders it to, which it will do only on the recommendation of the Federal Environment Minister if she considers provincial laws inadequate.
Pure brilliance, fought on the correct battlefield. How Ambrose responds to this threat will reveal a great deal about her commitment to the environment and set an important precedent. Just imagine the federal government, and a Tory one at that, stepping in and telling Alberta it must respect endangered species. It will be very interesting to see how Ambrose reacts.