Wilderness Committee delivers petition to the legislature
Submitted. Today, the Wilderness Committee delivered 40,090 petition signatures calling for provincial endangered species legislation to the BC legislature.
“British Columbia has the most biodiversity in Canada – yet we do so little to protect it,” said Torrance Coste, Vancouver Island Campaigner at the Wilderness Committee. “The BC government talks the talk when it comes to protecting endangered species but unfortunately they don’t walk the walk. Unless we take action to protect our endangered wildlife, our children and grandchildren will live in a BC with no spotted owls or Vancouver Island marmots in the wild.”
BC currently has over 1,900 species at risk including the Vancouver Island marmot, northern spotted owl, American badger, yellow-breasted chat and phantom orchid. The province has the most biological diversity in the country and is home to 76 per cent of Canada’s bird species, 70 per cent of its freshwater fish species and 66 per cent of its butterfly species. BC and Alberta are currently the only provinces in Canada with no endangered species law.
“Most British Columbians are astounded to find out BC has no endangered species law,” said Coste. “People living here know that we live in a special part of the country and part of what makes us unique is the fact that we have grizzly bears, blue-tailed skinks and wolverines in the wild. If the government really cares about species at risk, they will do the right thing and commit to a provincial endangered species law.”
The petition was delivered on the front steps of the legislature to MLA George Heyman, New Democrat Opposition spokesperson for Environment, Green Economy and Technology, and MLA Andrew Weaver, BC Green Party Leader.
Yesterday afternoon and this morning, both the Green Party and the NDP tabled private member’s bills calling for a BC endangered species law.
“Right now we are down to less than 12 spotted owls in the wild, because we have a provincial government that puts corporate profits ahead of the wellbeing of our wildlife and wilderness,” said Coste. “We have already lost species such as the Dawson’s caribou and greater sage grouse and because of government inaction we stand to lose hundreds more. It’s time for action – not more excuses.”