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April 22nd, 2014

Conservatives play politics with whales

New Democrats are questioning the Conservative government’s agenda after its decision to remove the North Pacific humpback whale from the list of threatened species.

“Instead of focusing on science and the protection of critical habitat for animals like the humpback whale, the Conservatives are overriding concerns and changing rules on the fly to weaken protection for this important species,” said NDP Environment critic Megan Leslie (Halifax). “For Canadians to find out on Earth Day only adds insult to injury.”

Downgrading the humpback whale’s classification means its critical habitat will no longer be protected under the Species at Risk Act. The Conservatives made the move despite objections from a large majority of groups that were consulted.

“The Conservatives are bending over backwards to please their friends in the oil industry and pave the way for Northern Gateway,” said NDP MP Nathan Cullen (Skeena–Bulkley Valley). “Meanwhile the concerns of Canadians and British Columbians are being ignored.” Cullen noted that the impact on whale habitat was a key issue during the review of the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline project.