Federal government rejects emergency order to protect killer whales

Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says the government does not believe an emergency order would be helpful

The federal government has declined to issue an emergency order under the Species at Risk Act that would further protect the endangered killer whales off British Columbia’s coast.

An order-in-council issued Thursday said the government has already taken several measures to ensure the recovery of the southern resident killer whales.

Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said in a statement Friday that the government “carefully weighed various options” to protect the whales, and it does not believe an emergency order would be helpful.

“An emergency order does not contain measures in of itself, it is only a tool governments can use as an implementation mechanism,” he said.

Wilkinson said the government announced new measures on Wednesday to ensure that when the whales return to the waters in greater numbers in spring, they have cleaner water to swim in, more Chinook salmon to eat and a quieter place to call home.

READ MORE: Conservation groups sue Ottawa to protect endangered killer whales

READ MORE: Canadian laws could prevent emaciated killer whale from being treated

The government also plans to work with the U.S. to align shipping regulations, he said.

However, Misty MacDuffee, a conservation biologist at the Raincoast Conservation Foundation in B.C., said the emergency order would have allowed the government to do certain things it currently doesn’t have legislation or powers to do.

Five conservation groups, represented by the environmental law group Ecojustice, had teamed up to launch legal action aimed at protecting the endangered whales in September.

In a statement, the groups said they are “deeply disappointed” by cabinet’s rejection of what they believe is the best tool to help the recovery of the whales.

The designation would have allowed the government to cut through red tape and bring in wide-ranging protections for species at risk, it said.

With only 74 animals remaining, southern resident killer whales are in crisis, they said.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Central Okanagan school trustees ponder future of Rutland Middle School

Planning and facilities committee to weigh in on frustrating lack of progress

Your guide to winter light ups around the Okanagan

From Vernon to Summerland, with a stop in Kelowna, we’ve found some activities for you to enjoy

Kelowna RCMP look for suspects of Rutland break-in

Police are looking for two suspects after man was found with blood on his hands and face

Work on revamp Rutland Transit Exchange in Kelowna now complete

The transit exchange and extension of Shepherd Road will open Saturday says city hall

Movie-making in Kelowna

Film crews will be shooting scenes around the city for a new movie until early December

Feds give formal notice for law to end Canada Post strike

Trudeau government ready to legislate employees back to work after five weeks of rotating strikes

Getzlaf lifts Ducks to 4-3 win over skidding Canucks

Vancouver now winless since Nov. 8

Pressure builds for B.C. to recognize physicians assistants

“We can make a difference and I think we’re being overlooked.”

Senators urge Trump to expedite congressional vote on USMCA

The 12 Republican senators are warning of the dangers of getting the trade pact approved in 2019

Okanagan College professors introduce e-textbooks to ease student costs

Okanagan College ranks sixth in the province for open textbook adoption.

Bill just one tool to deter foreign interference in Canadian elections: Gould

Bill C-76 is just one means to deter outside interference in Canadian elections

Investigation into B.C. legislature officers began in January

RCMP brought in months after former prison administrator started

Legal challenge filed over high-stakes competition to design $60B warships

The federal government had originally said it wanted a “mature design” for its new warship fleet, which was widely interpreted as meaning a vessel that has already been built and used by another navy.

‘There has to be accountability’: victims of sterilization demand action

Morningstar Mercredi says she woke up from a surgery at 14 and immediately broke down when she discovered the baby she once felt inside of her was gone.

Most Read