VICTORIA, B.C. - Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green Party, reintroduced his Private Member’s Bill, the Endangered Species Act, 2017. Weaver first introduced the bill in February 2017 under the previous B.C. Liberal government. The Act builds off similar legislation introduced in Ontario and tabled by the B.C. NDP in 2011, and was further developed with the input of Gwen Barlee from the Wilderness Committee and environmental lawyer Sean Nixon from EcoJustice.
“I am re-introducing this bill to ensure that this issue stays at the top of the government’s priorities,” said Weaver.
“It is time British Columbia joined the vast majority of Canadian provinces and introduce its own made-in-BC legislation to protect our province’s endangered species. This legislation was developed in consultation with some of our province’s leading experts on this subject, including the late Gwen Barlee, to whom i will be ever grateful for her assistance and commitment to this cause. This legislation contains a number of ways to close problematic loopholes, as well as to incorporate some of the best ideas from other jurisdictions, which I urge the government to include when it introduces its own endangered species legislation as promised next year.
“The world is in the midst of an extinction crisis, and humans are the driving force. British Columbia is the most biodiverse province in Canada, but it is also the home to more at-risk species than any other province. Half of British Columbia’s assessed species are deemed at risk.
“British Columbians know we cannot put a price on the value this unparalleled biodiversity provides. We owe it to future generations to ensure that we are doing all we can to protect species at risk of extinction.”
In addition to the provisions of the Ontario Act and the legislation tabled by the BC NDP in 2011, Weaver’s bill incorporates language from the United State Federal Endangered Species Act to make it more effective, proactive, preventative and comprehensive. Of note is the addition of a section that mirrors the US Endangered Species Committee, a committee of cabinet-level members who have the sole authority to issue exemptions to the Endangered Species Act.