The Right Honourable Jean Chretien

The Canadian government's continued failure to protect endangered species violates Canada's international obligations and ignores the will of Canadian citizens, says a new Greenpeace report released today.

The report, entitled Wipe Out: The Liberal Government's Plan for Endangered Species in Canada shows how Canada is failing to live up to its international word by failing to protect endangered species. Canada first committed to protect species and their habitats at the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992, but has failed to keep its promise, even though 97 % of Canadians support strong endangered species legislation (Pollara, May 1999.)

Its latest Species at Risk Act, Bill C-5, is currently before Parliament and has been harshly criticized by environmentalists and scientists as insufficient.

'After three tries, the Liberals still don't get it. You can't protect species without protecting their habitat and Bill C-5 doesn't do the job', said Tamara Stark of Greenpeace. Bill C-5 violates Canada's international obligations and in the process, does the impossible: makes Brian Mulroney look better than David Anderson.

Stark noted while Canada, under Brian Mulroney, championed the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Liberals have failed to fulfill any of their commitments to the CBD. Canada is hosting an important CBD meeting one month from now in Montreal and, based on the work done to date, will have little progress to report at this meeting.

More than 1,300 scientists from across North America recently urged Prime Minister Jean Chretien to take immediate action to strengthen the endangered species legislation, a requirement of the CBD. Three critical changes needed are to:
1) Require mandatory protection of all critical habitat of species considered at risk;
2) Ensure that scientists, rather than politicians, maintain responsibility for selecting what species are listed at being at risk; and
3) Ensure that the legislation applies to both federal and provincial lands, since the current legislation will apply to only 5 per cent of Canada's landbase.

'By refusing to make the changes needed, David Anderson is betraying Canadian species and violating the trust of Canadian citizens,' Stark said. 'It's time for Prime Minister Chrétien to step in and ensure that Canada keeps its promise to protect this nation's species.'

Mr Prime Minister, Bill C-5 must include legislation with no loop holes to protect the natural habitats of the species at risks. Not focusing on the habitats of the endangered species is a big mistake.

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The Tell the Liberals to Protect the Endangered Species petition to The Right Honourable Jean Chretien was written by Josh Morel and is in the category Environment at GoPetition.