Advance View: Whales make way for supertankers

North Pacific humpbacks whales are no longer members of a threatened species… according to the federal government, which last weekend announced that the Species at Risk Act would be amended to reclassify the whales as a “species of special concern.”

The new title means the whales’ feeding ground will no longer be subject to habitat protection laws – good news for whale watchers, especially those who are watching from oil tankers.

The whales’ habitat happens to be right on the shipping lane slated for bitumen-loaded tankers bound for China,  should the same federal government decide to approve the Northern Gateway Pipeline next month.

It seems coincidental. Pro-environment lobbyists had already made it clear that one of their strategies to limit, stall, or perhaps even stop the pipeline proposal was to meet any federal approval with legal action based on the whales’ endangered status… under the Species at Risk Act.

Oops. That’s one avenue closed to those pesky environmentalists.

On the other hand, it does remove a hazard from those treacherous coastal waters… for those who plan to launch the bitumen carriers, if not for the tankers themselves.

It seems, in their slashing of scientists’ jobs from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Tories had the foresight to keep at least a few around who are of the opinion that whales can probably learn to dodge tankers.

It is more of a systemic dismantling of environmental regulations and protection that might pose stumbling blocks for future pipeline projects. We saw the same thing with the elimination of environmental assessments for bodies of water that don’t contain commercial or recreational fisheries.

You can’t be accused of breaking any rules if there aren’t any rules to break.

We’d like to toast the whales’ bright future after their return from the brink of extinction due to a century of commercial whaling.

But their recovery is actually only words on paper.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Langley crews prepare for salting and plowing

With heavy snow expected, crews are working 24-hours until the weather system passes.

TransLink says 26 new Skytrain cars to arrive early

CEO Kevin Desmond says 24 new cars are also coming for the Canada Line

WATCH: Walnut Grove Gators take lead in AAAA basketball tournament

The Gators are heading into the finals on Sunday.

Langley program helps youth find their employment niche

The first session of Skills to Success youth employment program wrapped up and a second has started.

UPDATE: 10-20 cm of snow expected Friday in Lower Mainland

Snowfall warning in effect from North Shore mountains out to Hope

VIDEO: What you need to know today at the B.C. Games

All 19 events are underway across Kamloops, where five to 10 cm of snow is expected to fall

Sask. school shooter to be sentenced as adult

The man was just shy of his 18th birthday when he killed four people and injured seven others

Internet questions PM’s fashion choices in India

The Trudeaus’ eight-day visit has been dogged by various controversies since it began Feb. 17

Adopted potbelly pig killed and eaten on Vancouver Island

Animal had been adopted out from the SPCA in Duncan; staff are devastated by news

WATCH: Walking from Argentina to Alaska one step at a time

Holly “Cargo” Harrison is in Williams Lake, resting a pulled hamstring before he continues on his 15,000-mile walk to Alaska.

BCHL Today: Merritt Centennials keep moving while Salmon Arm Silverbacks slide

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Former Canuck Roberto Luongo addresses Florida shooting victims

Parkland, Fla., resident, delivers speech before Florida Panthers’ first home game since tragedy

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Kelowna skier Kesley Serwa adds to Canada’s gold medals

Despite losses in men’s hockey and curling, Canadian women won medals in ski cross and figure skating

5 to start your day

Up to 20 cm of snow expected in parts of Lower Mainland, possible bridge lane closures, and more

Most Read