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Federal Court Finds Canada Has Failed to Uphold Endangered Species Act – Ontario Could Be Next | A\J – Canada’s Environmental Voice
FEB 20 2014 |
Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller is warning Queen’s Park could face sharp reprimands by the courts for its failure to uphold wildlife protections under the Endangered Species Act.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a federal court confirmed last week the Government of Canada does indeed have a responsibility to follow its own species at risk legislation.
The decision, handed down by Madam Justice Anne Mactavish on Feb. 14, stated the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the federal Ministry of the Environment “acted unlawfully in failing to post proposed recovery strategies” for the Pacific Humpback Whale, the Nechako White Sturgeon, the Marbled Murrelet and the Southern Mountain Caribou “within the statutory timelines prescribed in the Species At Risk Act.”
“It is simply not acceptable for the responsible Ministers to continue to miss the mandatory deadlines that have been established by Parliament,” Mactavish found.
Simply listing species as endangered is not the ultimate purpose of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). While being aware of their decline is a critical first step in improving their fortunes, it’s equally critical government create timely recovery strategies to facilitate moving threatened and endangered species off the ESA list. This is where DFO, Ministry of Environment (MOE) and Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) provincially have fallen well behind in their work.
From the ruling:
To state the obvious, the Species at Risk Act was enacted because some wildlife species in Canada are at risk. As the applicants note, many are in a race against the clock as increased pressure is put on their critical habitat, and their ultimate survival may be at stake … There is indeed urgency in these matters.
The lawsuit was brought jointly by the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, the David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace Canada, the Sierra Club of British Columbia Foundation and Wildsight.
For his part, Miller is concerned the same fate awaits the provincial government for its own failures to uphold the tenets of the Endangered Species Act.
“As I have reported to the Legislature, the Ontario government has committed the very same offence by ignoring the statutory deadlines for producing recovery strategies for species at risk as required by the province’s Endangered Species Act, 2007,” Miller wrote Wednesday.
In his November report, Miller said the government has “failed miserably” in its efforts to protect endangered species in the province, accusing MNR of “stalling recovery strategies, crafting meaningless government response statements, delaying habitat protection, mismanaging the permitting process and deliberately ignoring public participation.”
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, like its federal counterpart, is also required to produce recovery strategies for species listed as endangered on the ESA within specific timelines. And, much like at the federal level, MNR is “similarly plagued by delays and a chronic failure to meet statutory deadlines,” Miller states.
In September, a coalition of environmental groups announced a lawsuit against MNR over their July decision to gut the ESA through exemptions for industry from many of the strictest protections for species-at-risk and their habitat.
Ontario Nature and the Wildlands League hired lawyers from Ecojustice to represent them against the government and their implementation of Ontario Regulation 176/13.
The suit is calling for a judicial review of the regulation and alleges the July 2013 regulatory changes made it easier for industry to acquire exemptions from aspects of the act which forbade the killing, harming or harassing of species-at-risk and their habitat.
The new regulation “runs contrary to the objects and purposes of the ESA, which are ‘to protect species that are at risk and their habitats, and to promote the recovery of species that are at risk,’” according to the submission.
Anastasia Lintner, staff lawyer with Ecojustice, told reporters in September that MNR Minister David Orazietti “failed to meet his own legal duties before recommending this regulation be made by cabinet.”
Further, “we allege the minister failed to first assess whether the proposed regulation would jeopardize the survival of 155 species listed as threatened or endangered,” she said. “He also failed to first assess if the regulation would have any other significant adverse effects on these listed species.”
“It’s environmental deregulation, pure and simple,” said Ontario Nature’s executive director Caroline Schultz at the time. She believes industry has been left to police itself because government oversight of potentially harmful practices has been dramatically weakened as MNR’s budget has shrunk substantially over much of the past two decades.
But Orazietti told reporters in September he is confident his legislation can withstand the judicial challenge. “We have gone to great lengths to ensure the fundamental principles of this legislation remains intact,” he said. “I’m disappointed by [the environmental group’s] approach, but I believe we have very solid evidence that ensures species-at-risk will continue to be protected.”
In response to the developments this week and Miller’s statement, Orazietti told A\J:
We take this issue extremely seriously. I certainly respect the Environmental Commissioner’s opinion on this matter. We are going to do everything we can to move forward to ensure there is compliance on these issues and that Ontario is living up to its obligations within the legislation.
Miller concludes by hoping MNR responds to the warning from the federal court and that “accountability for taking action to protect species at risk does not have to be found in the Courts of Ontario.”
Inflation is always somebody else’s fault. Ludwig von Mises called out finger pointing central bankers and politicians decades ago in his book, Economic Policy. “The most important thing to remember is that inflation is not an act of God, that inflation is not a catastrophe of the elements or a disease that comes like the plague. Inflation is a policy.”
In the fall of 2007, Gideon Gono blamed his country’s inflation rate of 4,500 percent on “the differences that Zimbabwe has had with its former colonial master, the UK,” and added, “we are busy laying the foundations for a serious deceleration programme.” Deceleration? A year later inflation was 231 million percent.
Money printing didn’t have anything to do with it according to the central banker. Droughts began to be more frequent in the 2000’s and Gono believed ”there is a positive correlation between the drought and inflation.” Dry weather, he told New African magazine, has, “got a serious bearing on our inflation level.”
In Gono’s dilluded mind,inflation was about the weather, lack of support from other nations, and political sanctions. He had nothing to do with the hyperinflation in his country. “No other [central-bank] governor has had to deal with the kind of inflation levels that I deal with,” Gono told Newsweek. “[The people at] my bank [are] at the cutting edge of the country.”
These days in Argentina its not the weather and political sanctions causing prices to rise, its businesses engaging in commerce. President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is urging her people to work “elbow-to-elbow” with her government to stop companies from looting the people with high prices. Two weeks ago the government devalued the peso by 20 percent but it is private businesses that are stealing from working people with price increases.
Posters of retail executives have been plastered around Buenos Aires. For instance, Wal-Mart Argentina’s president Horacio Barbeito has his mug on a poster with the caption, “Get to know them, these are the people who steal your salary.”
Kirchner’s cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich calls economists who point to government policies as inflation’s culprit “undercover agents.” He implies that these economists are the tools of business. “Argentines should know that independent, objective economists don’t exist,” Capitanich claims. “I want to say emphatically that when unscrupulous businessmen raise prices it has absolutely nothing to do with macroeconomic variables.”
In 2012 the president of Argentina’s central bank, Yale-educated Mercedes Marcó del Pont, said in an interview, “it is totally false to say that printing more money generates inflation, price increases are generated by other phenomena like supply and external sector’s behaviour.”
So while its central bank prints, the Kirchner government has enlisted the citizenry to work undercover in the fight against rising prices. A free smartphone application is encouraging Argentines to be citizen-cops while they shop.
The app is a bigger hit than “Candy Crush” and “Instagram.” President Kirchner wants “people to feel empowered when they shop.” And, they do. “You can go checking the prices,” marveled Analia Becherini, who learned of the app on Twitter. “You don’t even have to make any phone calls. If you want to file a complaint, you can do it online, in real time.”
“Argentina’s government blames escalating inflation on speculators and greedy businesses,” reports Paul Byrne for the Associated Press, “and has pressured leading supermarket chains to keep selling more than 80 key products at fixed prices.”
However, businesses aren’t eager to lose money selling goods. Fernando Aguirre told Chris Martenson that with price inflation running rampant, “Lots of stores don’t want to be selling stuff until they get updated prices. Suppliers holding on, waiting to see how things go, which is something that we are familiar with because that happened back in 2001 when everything went down as we know it did.”
In his Peak Prosperity podcast with Aguirre, Martenson makes the ironic point that when governments print excessive amounts of money, goods disappear from store shelves. In a hyper-inflation the demand for money drops to zero as people buy whatever they can get their hands on. Inflation destroys the calculus of profit and loss, destroying business, and undoing the division of labor.
Aguirre reinforced Martenson’s point. Describing shelves as “halfway empty,” in Argentina he said, “The government is always trying to muscle its way through these kind of problems, just trying to force companies to stock back products and such, but they just keep holding on. For example, gas has gone up 12% these last few days. And there is really nothing they can do about it. If they don’t increase prices, companies just are not willing to sell. It is a pretty tricky situation to be in.”
Tricky indeed. “It would be a serious blunder to neglect the fact that inflation also generates forces which tend toward capital consumption,” Mises wrote in Human Action. “One of its consequences is that it falsifies economic calculation and accounting. It produces the phenomenon of illusory or apparent profits.”
Inflation is also rampant at the other end of South America. Venezuela inflations is clocking in at 56 percent. Comparing the two countries, Leonardo Vera, a Caracas-based economist told the FT, “Argentina still has some ammunition to fight the current situation, while Venezuela is running out of bullets.”
Fast money growth has also led to shortages such as “newsprint to car parts and ceremonial wine to celebrate mass,” reports the FT.
Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro is using the government’s heavy hand to introduce a law capping company profits at 30 percent. Heavy prison sentences await anyone found hoarding, overcharging, or “destabilising the economy.” Hundreds of inspectors have been deployed to enforce the mandates.
The results will be predictable. “With every new control, the parallel, or black market, dollar will keep going up, and so will the price and scarcity of milk, oil, and toilet paper,” says Humberto García, an economist with the Central University of Venezuela.
Don’t expect the printing to stop any time soon. Central bankers believe they are doing God’s work. “To ensure that my people survive, I had to print money,” Gideon Gono toldNewsweek. “I found myself doing extraordinary things that aren’t in the textbooks. Then the IMF asked the U.S. to please print money. The whole world is now practicing what they have been saying I should not. I decided that God had been on my side and had come to vindicate me.”
It seems disasters wrought by inflationary policies must be experienced again and again, as “Inflation is the true opium of the people,” Mises explained, “administered to them by anticapitalist governments.”
The practice of central banking is the same around the world. The only difference is in degree. Before he destroyed the Zimbabwean dollar Gono looked to America for inspiration. “Look at the bridges across the many rivers in New York and elsewhere,” Gono told New African, “and the other infrastructure in the country that were built with high budget deficits.”
The Zimbabwe, Argentina, and Venezuela inflations may seem to be something that happens to somebody else. But Mr. Aguirre makes a point when asked about 2001, when banks in Argentina, after a bank holiday, converted dollar accounts into the same number of pesos. A massive theft.
“Those banks that did that are the same banks that are found all over the world,” Aguirre says. “They are not like strange South American, Argentinean banks–they are the same banks. If they are willing to steal from people in one place, don’t be surprised if they are willing to do it in other places as well.”
Douglas E. French is a Director of the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada. Additionally, he writes for Casey Research and is the author of three books; Early Speculative Bubbles and Increases in the Supply of Money, The Failure of Common Knowledge, and Walk Away: The Rise and Fall of the Home-Owenrship Myth. French is the former president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama.
Once the family/gang has carved out their turf, they then turn to controlling and exploiting the resoruces (either natural or human) inside of it. How different is today’s President-Congress-Governor-Mayor-Worker relationship to the mafia’s boss-soldiers-associates model?
Is it simply ironic that the term “bankster” has become so ingrained? As Santiago Capital’s Brent Johnson explains in this brief presentation… if you can keep your mind open, today’s business leaders and politicians are no different as they run protection, extortion, control the flow of ‘drugs’, and manage ‘crime’.
Is it possible, he asks, that we are all collectivley empathizing and sympathizing (and in many cases defending) the very system and the very people that are holding us captive?
The fact that the phrase sounds antique should warn us of the scale of our folly. We have lost, given away, pawned the power we once claimed. We have ceased to be who we once were. Or at least who we claimed and hoped to be – The People. Now who are we? The Consumer? The Unemployed. The Unwanted? ”We, the Unwanted” does not have the same ring about it does it? And yet that is what we are fast becoming. It is time to chose. Sit in front of your television or computer screen and let it sooth you, until one day you too find you have have become one of the unheard, unlamented, Unwanted. Or reach out to others and grasp hold.
It is surely time that we re-assert what the phrase “We, The People” once meant. It is symbolic I know. But symbols are powerful. And the powerful fear them.
For too long now we have been supine, docile and cowed. There have been sputterings of resolve when a million people took to the streets to oppose the War in Iraq. But the rulers of the day ignored us and ‘the people’ simply went home vaguely disquieted, perhaps a little hurt at being ignored but mainly just confused as to what to do next – if anything.
For decades now we have let others have the initiative, let others define what was acceptable and legitimate. When it was never their position to do so. This must stop.
Once, a certain people declared, “No taxation without representation.” It was and still is a simple idea. You may not tax me unless you represent my interests. Only those with my interests in mind may ask me for taxes. Today that definitiion of democracy has withered and been quietly replaced by another similar sounding but actually radically different version – I would say perversion – of democracy. Today we are taxed by people who represent every interest but ours. They are still representatives but not of our interests. Democracy has now become a kind of opera – more and more lavish in direct proportion to its separation from ordinary people and their lives. Every four or five years we get to chose between two teams who represent some interest which is not ours. They may represent the interests of bankers, or global corporations, or militarists and the industrial complex which gets rich from their adventures, or some other grouping within the machinery of the State, or the intersts of a powerful global 1% – whatever interest they serve it is never yours and mine. For those who will clamour and say the Democrats or Labour or La Gauche represent the interests of the labour unions, WAKE UP! It’s been decades since that was even partially true. Labour under Blair and Brown was Thatcherism by another name and ignored a million people who said very clearly and en masse, that the Bush/Blair war was unjust, illegal and unwanted. The Democrats under Obama followed the same financial and economic ideology as Bush, even chosing the same people to run things, and was as warlike and arrogant as well. Change? Tell it to a moron. He might believe you.
Democracy is broken. No one represents us. We are allowed only to chose between different teams of The Entitled who, once chosen, ignore us completely. The whole idea of a mandate has mutated. Once that idea meant that a government could do what it had said it would do when it was trying to win our votes. Beyond those things, it had to consider ‘The People’. Today all parties consider that being elected means to be handed absolute power to do whatever they feel like doing, whatever they can ram through the tattered remains of accountability and oversight.
Elected dictatorship in installments is what we have today. And when each installment, no matter the different names and colours of the teams, is almost indistinguishable from the last, what is representative democracy if not a street parade of oversized cartoon characters and their pantomimed arguments. Are we not amused?
If we do not speak up soon we will find when we finally do, nothing is heard but grunting and bleating. We are, to borrow a phrase from the brilliant Roberto Callaso, already walking through a vast slaughter house. And those who run it have no good intent.
It is past time when we must revivify what We the People means. We must stop reacting like frightened animals and take the initiative.We cannot allow those who presume to rule over us to continue to tell us what ‘must’ be done and to over-rule all debate by insisting ‘there is no alternative.’ We must state what We the People will accept and what we won’t, what we regard as legitimate and what is not. It is for us to decide these things not them. It may seem like just words and on one level of course it is. But it was only words when it was said the first time. What those words did the first time and can do again, is to stop our rulers’ proclamations always being against a blank and passive background. Simply by declaring what We will and won’t tolerate or accept we force their proclamations to appear as what they are – aggressive, partisan and debateable.
You might say that it will still be just words and that blood would still have to be spilt upon the ground before their point had force. Which may be true. But still, simply by re-stating that there IS a “We the People” we take a stand, and are heard.
So here is my suggestion, for what it might be worth – What matters is that we state what WE will and won’t accept, what WE do and do not recognize as legitimate. What matters is how many of us sign. It does not matter that we may not all agree or that we may have differing lists. What matters is that they are not so different, that we can all stand together, and all take back what is ours – the power to DECIDE for ourselves what powers we lend and what powers we do NOT.
We the People:
Will not accept taxation for the purpose of paying off, even temporarily, private banking or other financial debts.
We will not accept the rulings of international arbitration panels on which our interests are not represented and which are convened on the basis of Bilateral Investment Treaties about which we were not consulted.
We will do not recognize the right of bond holders of ANY standing to be given seniority over the tax payers and people of a nation. We will NOT bail them out.
We reserve the sovereign right to decide in the event of another finacial crisis, who does not get paid, whose wealth is anulled. It is not for the unelected market and its experts to tell us.
We, the people do not accept the right or authority of private or unnaccountable State organizations to collect, hold or use private data gathered by any means that the law and courts have not specifically and publically granted.
We do not accept the legitimacy of any private law enforcement body.
We do not accept that there is any justification for secret or unaccountable bodies to hold any power over us. We simply do not recognize they have any legitimacy.
We will not tolerate military actions taken in secret without any parliamenary and public accountabilbity and permission.
We reserve the absolute right to hold to public and legal account any leader who takes actions which disregard the above. No elected official is above the law and no leader has the power to aquit those the courts have proceeded against.
No organization is above or outside the law.
We the People do not accept that any organization is too big to prosecute or too big to fail. Any organization that becomes so or remains so depsite this clear instruction, and then fails, forfeits its entire worth to the public purse at a post bankruptcy price.
I offer this as a start only. Others will no doubt be better informed and able to formulate a far clearer, better and sharper declaration.
If they do, I would like to sign it and offer it to as many others as technology will permit me to reach, for them to consider signing. The internet gives us this chance, to put up a document that any number of ordinary people can chose to sign. People might wish to have a seperate version for each Nation. Or, in a global world, perhaps we need to remain together as the global 99%. What matters is that enough of us sign so we can really say with a single voice – WE THE PEOPLE serve you notice that we are back!
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