I could not disagree more with the comments Mr. Weston makes in last week’s issue (“Supporting Bill C-38,” June 14) on how Bill C-38 will streamline government regulatory reviews for major projects while maintaining the same rigorous environmental protection. What Mr. Weston calls “streamlining” I consider “fast-tracking” past the very laws and regulations that are supposed to keep government staff from allowing bad decisions to be made. As a scientist who is working in Howe Sound and the Salish Sea I am increasingly aware at how little we understand the relationship between the oceans, lakes, wetlands and shorelines on species such as salmon, steelhead, and other fisheries. By?revising the Fisheries Act to protect “fish” instead of “fish habitat,” we may inadvertently and irrevocably damage our fisheries stocks through ignorance and oversight. Mr. Weston states how pleased he is to be removing the focus from “carp living in ditches” (I was unaware we have carp here in our riding) to a new law that will protect migratory fish. Well, I can only say these so-called ditches provide habitat to numerous ecologically important species that are a valuable part of the ecosystem and may prove far more important to the survival of our commercial, recreational and aboriginal fisheries than any of us fully realize.
I cannot speak for the proposed job creation Mr. Weston mentions, but I certainly am clearly aware of the massive cutbacks and job losses to numerous federal government employees over the past 18 months. If it were realistic I would be glad to ask the 750,000 Canadians who Mr. Weston seems so eloquently to speak on behalf of and see if they think the Conservative government should be gutting our environmental and fisheries act in the name of job creation. I am more than willing to bet that the majority would agree the economy and the environment go hand in hand and you cannot have a healthy economy until and unless you have a healthy environment. In closing, as a member of at least a dozen respected and recognized federal and provincially based conservation groups, fisheries and sports-fish stakeholder committees, and even through my ties with industry and business, I do not in any way recognize the approach Mr. Weston and the Conservative government are taking as being sensible or practical in any scientific or?conservation manner.?
Edith B. Tobe, RPBio, AScT