Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo, announces the federal government's commitment to reopening the Kitsilano Coast Guard facility, in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday December 16, 2015. (Photo: Darryl Dyck/CP)
Controversial changes made in 2012 omnibus bill
"I don't think we humans are capable of picking which parts of nature need protection. You need to look at the ecosystem as a whole."Tootoo has been instructed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to restore the protections. "Work with the minister of transport to review the previous government’s changes to the Fisheries and Navigable Waters Protection Acts, restore lost protections and incorporate modern safeguards," says Tootoo's mandate letter from Trudeau. After he gets done with that, Tootoo can move on to reforming the 150-year-old act to put science at its heart and with a view to the future, Smol suggested. "We want long-term thinking. We don't want typical mandate thinking of four years." An amended act should limit the discretion of politicians to override scientific evidence and enshrine cautions that ensure future generations enjoy the same fisheries as Canadians do today, said Nowlan. "They need to make their decisions in accordance with modern environmental law principles." Thursday's letter is the latest open letter from scientists hoping to influence government policy. Two such letters this month — one criticizing studies into liquefied natural gas exports in British Columbia and another discouraging investment in fossil fuel infrastructure — have already been sent to the federal Liberals. Scientists are hoping the new government will listen more closely to their warnings than did the previous administration, Smol said. "We're seeing the muzzling of scientists being changed. We have issues that we think need looking at and we think we have a government that will pay some attention to it."
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