Policies of Extinction: The Life and Death of Canada's Endangered Species Legislation
Rogers, Raymond A., Wilkinson, Christopher J. A., Policy Studies Journal
This article examines the attempt by the Canadian Federal Government to pass endangered species legislation (1995). It focuses on the constraints which confront the creation of environmental policy in Canada and identifies jurisdictional overlap and stakeholder conflict as the prime source of difficulties which confronted the Federal Government as it moved through the policy process for creating endangered species legislation. The wide-ranging consultation process leading up to the creation of the legislation provided ample opportunity for powerful interests to undermine the protection of endangered species. The article concludes with a discussion of endangered species legislation as an example of the failure of the "crisis management" approach to conservation and sustainability.
We naturalists are neither threatened nor insulted by unpredictable, uncontrollable nature--that's one of its fascinations--but in our desperate effort to show at any cost that we too are civilized people, that we are not emotional but entirely rational and objective, we abrogate that which of all things is our strength and our joy: we abrogate our feelings. In so doing, we play willingly and directly into the hands of instrumental rationality, the same rationality that sees nature not as an experience of our very selves but as a human utility, a commodity, an externality. We sacrifice ourselves--and thus nature--to the very ideology that is wild nature's most intractable enemy.
John A. Livingston (1979, p. 13)
Beginning in April 1995, when the Task Force on Federal Endangered Species Conservation comprised of representatives from industry, science, and environmental groups was set up, the Federal Government of Canada initiated an elaborate and wide-ranging consultative process in order to develop a comprehensive program for endangered species protection. This process would coordinate the efforts of federal, provincial, and territorial governments, as well as involve those from industry and local communities. In August 1995, the Canadian government released a legislative proposal for endangered species protection and, after nationwide hearings and extensive stakeholder input on the proposal, Bill C-65 (Canada Endangered Species Protection Act) was tabled in the House of Commons on October 31, 1996 by the Minister of the Environment, Sergio March.
Despite extensive input from those involved in or potentially affected by endangered species protection, Bill C-65 was hotly debated after it was tabled in Parliament. This process led to many amendments being proposed by witnesses who appeared during the clause-by-clause review of the bill by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. Amid widespread disagreement over the changes to the bill, or lack of them, the amended Bill C-65 died on the Order Paper of the House of Commons when the federal election was called in June 1997.  Given the contentiousness of the issue and the level of conflict that had occurred, the passing of endangered species legislation by a government heading up to an election appeared to be a no-win situation politically.
The purpose of this paper is to examine the attempt by the Canadian government to enact endangered species protection legislation as a case study in the relationship between environment and development. If conservation is understood as a strategy that negotiates the relationship between environment and development, endangered species protection is arguably the most difficult conservation issue with which to satisfy the stakeholders involved. In ecological terms, endangered species protection is concerned with preserving species and habitat on their own terms and for their own sake, rather than for human utility defined in terms of the conservation of resources. Alternately, the forces that cause species and habitat destruction are not always just related to direct exploitation, but also …
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Publication information: Article title: Policies of Extinction: The Life and Death of Canada's Endangered Species Legislation. Contributors: Rogers, Raymond A. - Author, Wilkinson, Christopher J. A. - Author. Journal title: Policy Studies Journal. Volume: 28. Issue: 1 Publication date: Spring 2000. Page number: 190. © 1999 Policy Studies Organization. COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group.
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