It has been 14 years since Southern Resident killer whales were listed as endangered under Canada's Species at Risk Act. Today, less than 85 of these whales remain. Despite their legal obligation to act, the federal government has failed to take measures to further recovery of the Southern Residents. As one of Canada's most endangered group of animals, actions for their survival cannot wait any longer.
During the 2015 election, the Liberal Party promised to listen to Canadians in an unprecedented way, and as we get closer to marking the first year of their government, signs have been good that they're trying to follow through. So much so that when it comes to climate change, it can feel like the government is trying to consult us to death. When it comes to climate consultation, the federal government is great at asking questions, but are they actually listening to the answers? The truth is, I don't know. The government of Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr in particular, have made no secret that they want to approve a pipeline.
Trudeau's apology is illustrative of the behaviour of a child being caught with his hand in the cookie jar, then arguing it wasn't his fault because someone else put the jar there in the first place. His so-called apology was not so much about an acknowledgement of a wrongdoing, it was more about trying to put a spin on his indefensible actions.
Don't forget, way back in January 2014 Trudeau said about Kinder Morgan, "I certainly hope that we're going to be able to get that pipeline approved." Unless we make things uncomfortable for him politically, the prime minister will force this pipeline through our communities against our will -- the public's will.
While it's so ridiculous that you can't help but laugh at it, it's also unjust, anti-democratic and something that Canada's new prime minister promised would never happen again. Last June, now-Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled his party's environmental platform standing with his back to the Burrard Inlet in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighborhood. With a withering critique that Stephen Harper's government had "chosen to be a cheerleader instead of a referee" when it came to pipelines, he promised a complete overhaul of the National Energy Board assessment process.
A week after the spill was first reported, Nexen still does not know what caused the pipeline to rupture or when it might have started to leak. The pipeline may have been leaking for hours or even days before a problem was finally detected. Clearly, when it comes to pipelines, new does not necessarily mean better -- or even safer.
Two years ago, Ecojustice and our clients celebrated a landmark win for protection of B.C.'s iconic killer whales under the Species at Risk Act. And while there have been some recent signs that these populations may be on the long road to recovery, proposed projects like the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and now the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 expansion pose new threats to their survival.