It’s not often Canada’s federal government finds merit in an opposition measure.
But yesterday, MP Richard Cannings got the support of his colleagues when the Liberal government announced it would adopt his proposal to close a loophole in the Species at Risk Act.
“The Species at Risk Act was designed to provide governments with a transparent and timely process to accept scientific advice on which species require protection,” explained Mr. Cannings. “Unfortunately previous governments found the wording of the Act ambiguous and often chose to ignore those timelines.
“In fact, the Conservative government made no decisions at all about listing between 2011 and 2015, despite the fact that 82 species were assessed as needing that protection.”
Mr. Cannings introduced Bill C-363, An Act to amend the Species at Risk Act (amendment of the List) in the House of Commons in September.
The bill amends the Act to make it clear that the clock starts when the advice is received, and will give the Minister of Environment and Climate Change a clear nine-month deadline to make a decision as to whether or not a species will be added to the lists in the Act.
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna today announced that the government would be enacting Mr.Cannings’ proposal in government policy.
“I’m glad the government has seen the merit in my proposal and I want to thank them for working with me to ensure that the Species at Risk act functions as it was intended to all along. “ said Mr. Cannings.
Monday was a busy day for the MP from South Okanagan – West Kootenay.
Earlier, the House of Commons undertook its first hour of debate on Bill C-354, an Act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act, (Use of Wood).
If passed, the bill would require the federal government to consider the use of wood in federal infrastructure projects, taking into account the associated costs and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by using wood products.
“Wood technologies have come a long way, and as companies like Structurlam have shown us, we can build amazing structures with wood that are beautiful, environmentally friendly and cost competitive,” he said of his second bill. “Bill C-354 will help to further promote these advances and help to support forestry communities all across the country.”
Mr. Cannings encouraged all members of the House of Commons to support the measure.
“We have a chance to help the Canadian forestry sector grow and flourish for decades to come,” he said.