MP says appeal cash would be better spent helping the whales

Fin Donnelly, MP for New Westminster-Coquitlam-Port Moody and the NDP fisheries and oceans critic, said Fisheries Minister Gail Shea is wasting taxpayers’ money appealing a court ruling instead of protecting B.C.’s endangered Orca whales.

Several British Columbia conservation groups took the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to court with the Federal Court ruling the department failed in its duty to protect critical marine habitat for the Orca. Donnelly said the DFO attempted to download its responsibility by using provincial guidelines and non-binding, voluntary protocol to protect the habitat which the court ruled wasn’t acceptable. Last month the ministry announced it will appeal the ruling saying discretionary provisions in the Fisheries Act already legally protect the habitat making protection under the Species at Risk Act unnecessary.

“Why would the minister waste time and taxpayers’ dollars on a costly appeal, rather than put money into protecting the iconic species? The court ruling is clear,” said Donnelly. “The Department of Fisheries and Oceans must protect the Orca whale, its critical habitat, the salmon it feeds on.”

New Westminster NewsLeader