Fisheries Act Amendments Brought Into Force Despite Widespread Opposition Publish Date: 25-NOV-2013 01:26 PM Today, after an almost 18 month delay, Canada is bringing into force changes to the federal Fisheries Act that have faced widespread and persistent opposition and First Nations’ legal challenges since they were introduced in last year’s omnibus Bills C-38 and C-45. The amendments, which weaken legal protections for fish and their habitat, have been broadly criticized as having passed without proper parliamentary debate or public consultation, and for being motivated by pressure from resource industries.
The evidence is clear : Regulation creates jobs Publish Date: 07-NOV-2013 11:48 AM While corporate lobbyists and free market economists promote the view that deregulation creates jobs, neither evidence nor common sense support this view. Forestry in Canada is a case in point. Despite the abusive practices of previous generations of timber barons, companies still harvest a lot of trees on Crown land, which belongs to all of us. Taxpayers have a strong interest in a long-term timber supply. Regulations aimed at sustainable forestry practices benefit the economy and maintain jobs.
Harper government reports details of its risky policies Publish Date: 06-NOV-2013 11:30 AM The federal government has released a series of reports warning that Canada faces looming dangers that include financial risks from legal threats over environmental policies, damage to the country’s international reputation and weaknesses plaguing front-line staff overseeing transportation safety. The Departmental Performance Reports, tabled this week in Parliament, show that several departments were facing delays in spending hundreds of millions of dollars, including budgeted funding for infrastructure projects, programs to reduce pollution as well as other initiatives such as safety oversight on the transportation network.
New fisheries law attacked by scientists Publish Date: 02-NOV-2013 11:17 AM Three of Canada's leading fish scientists say Canada's rewritten Fisheries Act protects the fish species that people eat, while dropping protection for huge numbers of other fish. In particular, it does not protect endangered fish species, Jeffrey Hutchings and John Post write in an international science journal called Fisheries.
Gutting Canada’s Fisheries Act: No Fishery, No Fish Habitat Protection (PDF) Publish Date: 01-NOV-2013 11:18 AM Revisions to Canada’s national fisheries legislation have eviscerated the country’s ability and responsibility to protect most fish habitat. Changes to the Fisheries Act, passed by Parliament in 2012 and supported by new regulations in 2013, stipulate that habitat will now be protected only for fish that are considered part of a fishery or that support a fishery. The habitats of most freshwater fish species in Canada, including the majority of threatened and endangered fishes, will no longer be protected. Contrary to responsible management practices for the protection of native fishes, the act now inadvertently prioritizes habitat protection for some nonnative species— even hatchery-produced hybrids—as long as they are part of a fishery. Changes to the Fisheries Act were not supported by scientific advice (contrary to government policy) and are inconsistent with an ecosystem-based approach to management. Politically motivated dismantling of habitat protection provisions in the Fisheries Act erases 40 years of enlightened and responsible legislation and diminishes Canada’s ability to fulfill its national and international obligations to protect, conserve, and sustainably use aquatic biodiversity.
Ecology: Lady of the lakes Publish Date: 30-OCT-2013 11:09 AM International Institute for Sustainable Development
Diane Orihel set her PhD aside to lead a massive protest when Canada tried to shut down its unique Experimental Lakes Area. This article profiles her campaign.
Protesters in Grand Bank barricade DFO truck Publish Date: 30-OCT-2013 11:03 AM Protesters in Grand Bank barricaded a Department of Fisheries and Oceans truck in response to the department’s planned closure of their office in that town. A moving truck had arrived Tuesday to move furniture out of the DFO building, but access was blocked by protesters, who included the town’s mayor.
Minister declines to address scientists survey Publish Date: 22-OCT-2013 10:34 AM Canada's Environment minister would not comment Monday on the results of a survey commissioned to determine the extent to which government scientists are censored. The online survey was commissioned by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) and hosted by Environics Research.
90% of government scientists feel they can't speak freely: union survey Publish Date: 21-OCT-2013 10:23 AM A large survey of science professionals in the federal public service has found that almost 25 per cent of respondents say they have been directly asked to exclude or alter information for ''non-scientific reasons.'' Some 71 per cent of those surveyed said political interference is compromising policy development based on scientific evidence, and almost half of those who took part said they were aware of cases in which their department or agency suppressed information. The study, entitled ''The Big Chill,'' was commissioned by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, and paints a disturbing picture of government scientists who feel they are being muzzled.
Ottawa denies delays in responding to sockeye report Publish Date: 11-SEP-2013 01:27 PM Ottawa denies delays in responding to sockeye report, although an open letter from three fisheries advocates says there has been no action on several key recommendations of the 2012 Cohen report. The Harper government, accused of an “unacceptable” delay in responding to last year’s Fraser River salmon inquiry report, insists it’s following Justice Bruce Cohen’s recommendations. Fisheries Minister Gail Shea said the government has, in the past year, announced a $10 million program to support local fisheries conservation projects. The 2013 budget included more money for the Pacific Salmon Foundation, a non-profit group involved in salmon conservation.
L’Ontario lance une bouée de sauvetage aux lacs expérimentaux (French) Publish Date: 02-SEP-2013 10:49 AM Un centre de recherche majeur sur l’eau douce situé dans le nord-ouest de l’Ontario, qui était menacé de fermeture après l’annulation du financement fédéral, sera sauvé pour le moment grâce à une aide provinciale de 2 millions de dollars par année. La Région des lacs expérimentaux est en fait un laboratoire à ciel ouvert qui regroupe une soixantaine de lacs et de cours d’eau au sud-est de Kenora. Des chercheurs y étudient entre autres les changements climatiques et les effets de la pollution. Ce n’est pas clair pour l’instant, toutefois, si tous les employés fédéraux du centre de recherche pourront conserver leur poste.
DFO declines interview with scientist on oilsands because it disagrees with media report Publish Date: 31-MAY-2013 03:40 PM DFO has declined an interview request with a scientist to discuss the environmental impacts of oilsands development because it objected to a recent Postmedia News report, a federal government spokesman wrote in an email. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is one of seven federal departments and agencies under investigation by Parliament’s Information Commissioner, Suzanne Legault, over allegations that the government is “muzzling” and restricting access to government scientists.
Federal fisheries officials stalling on talks to protect water Publish Date: 09-DEC-2012 03:19 PM The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has no formal plans to consult with stakeholders on new regulations or partnerships to prevent industrial pollution in the wake of a major changes to environmental protection laws adopted last summer, says newly-released internal correspondence obtained by Postmedia News.
Canada losing ground in environmental and resource science, report says Publish Date: 26-SEP-2012 09:43 AM Canada is no longer a powerhouse in environmental and natural resources science, according to a comprehensive report to be released Thursday. “The overall decline in these fields is real,” reports a blue-ribbon panel asked by the federal government to assess the state of Canada’s science and technology.
It says the country continues to excel in health sciences and information and communications technologies and many other fields, but is losing ground in natural resources and environmental sciences, which were considered two of the country’s top four scientific strengths in 2006.
Coupes fédérales en science: l'homme qui parle (French) Publish Date: 03-SEP-2012 10:16 AM En septembre, d’autres scientifiques à l’emploi du gouvernement fédéral sont censés recevoir à leur tour la confirmation que leurs postes seront abolis. Mais il est bien difficile d’en trouver un seul qui ose en parler. « Je cours des risques si je parle aux journalistes, je n’ai pas de permission », admet Peter Ross, qui ne s’est pourtant pas privé de parler : en mai et juin, on a pu le lire et l’entendre dans plusieurs médias, francophones et anglophones. Et si les journalistes scientifiques sont nombreux à se tourner vers lui, c’est parce qu’il est à peu près le seul. (…)
Scientists fight to save library from federal cuts Publish Date: 27-AUG-2012 10:30 AM Scientists are continuing to fight to save the library at the St. Andrews Biological Station from federal funding cuts. The library is used by Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists, outside researchers and by university students for teaching and research in southwestern New Brunswick. (…)
D’un océan à l’autre, le gouvernement fédéral coupe dans la recherche scientifique (French) Publish Date: 27-AUG-2012 10:28 AM Avec les coupes budgétaires dans la recherche sur les contaminants chimiques, l’avenir s’assombrit pour le suivi à long terme et la conservation des espèces marines du Saint-Laurent. Laboratoires démantelés, postes de chercheurs supprimés: depuis la fin 2011, le gouvernement fédéral effectue des coupes budgétaires drastiques et ciblées dans son ministère chargé de l’environnement aquatique et de la recherche. Quant à la volumineuse loi budgétaire C-38 en vigueur depuis le mois de juillet, elle modifie la Loi sur les pêches et abolit des évaluations environnementales. (…)
Enbridge cleanup plans not specific for diluted bitumen, says scientist Publish Date: 26-AUG-2012 10:35 AM Enbridge Inc.'s response plan for a potential spill of Northern Gateway oil into the pristine waters off British Columbia doesn't take into account the unique oil mixture the pipeline would actually carry, documents show. However, documents obtained under access to information show a scientist at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans argued vigorously for a chance to do more research. "The Northern Gateway pipeline proposal lacks key information on the chemical composition of the reference oils used in the hypothetical spill models," wrote Ken Lee, head of DFO's Centre for Offshore Oil Gas and Energy Research, or COOGER. (…)