Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, with advice from Fisheries Minister Gail Shea, is recommending that the Northern Pacific population of humpback whales be downgraded from "threatened" to "species of special concern." The recommendation for the change to the Species at Risk Act was published in the Canada Gazette Saturday.
Karen Wristen, executive director of the Living Oceans Society, said the decision to downgrade the whale's protection "has absolutely no basis in science and is simply a political move to clear the way to approve the pipeline." She noted that downgrading means that the government would no longer have to designate critical habitat for the whale's recovery.
Currently, that designated critical habitat includes areas near Kitimat, B.C. – the proposed western end of the Northern Gateway pipeline – where the whales feed and rear their young in the spring and summer, she said. But Kitimat voted against the Northern Gateway just a few weeks ago!
This is a powerplay by the Canadian government to pass the pipeline - and Canadian citizens need to make it clear that they don't appreciate putting our whales on the line for short-term gain!