Now, it could be that the Harper government's move to take humpback whales off the endangered species list
is just a routine change which echoes similar downgrades by environmental organizations like the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
And it could be that it is merely a happy coincidence such a downgrade means no protection of critical whale habitat will be required anymore if the Northern Gateway pipeline and Trans Mountain pipeline expansion just happen to be approved someday soon.
But this is a government that sends out press releases about the number of visitors Canada gets from the Philippines
and how it has improved the internet in Ottawa Valley South
, to name just two of the 21 press releases it sent out today
And the whale news was just posted quietly on Easter Saturday in the Canada Gazette
? So who can possibly believe that they didn't intend to sneak this one past us all.
Luckily, the Harper Cons are about as sneaky as humpback whales themselves, so now everybody knows about it:
...if Ottawa approves the pipeline, it must still persuade Canadians that the highest environmental standards have been met. On that count, the Harper government’s recent decision to downgrade the protection of humpback whales off the B.C. coast ranks as an epic fail.
Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq’s recommendation to reclassify the humpbacks from “threatened” to a “species of special concern” removes a major hurdle for Gateway’s approval, just a couple of months before a decision is expected on the pipeline. Which is precisely why it should raise all sorts of red flags.