Check out our Aboriginal Job Board!
Minister mum on decision regarding emergency order when meeting with chiefs
After discussing strategy for the protection of woodland caribou with Environment Canada Minister Peter Kent at the First Nations - Crown gathering in Ottawa, Chief Allan Adam returned to Alberta to find out that the minister had decided not to issue an emergency order to protect the woodland caribou.
That decision was made Jan. 13, more than 10 days before Adam, chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, met with Kent.
“Basically, he told me to shove that piece of paper back in your face and this is what we’re doing,” said Adam of sitting at the table with Kent after a decision had already been made.
Adam Sweet, press secretary for the minister, said it would have been “inappropriate” for Kent to have informed Adam of the decision during that meeting because Adam was party to the court case which had forced Kent to make the decision.
The ACFN joined with the Beaver Lake and Enoch Cree Nations and two environmental groups in court action that last July resulted in a judge ruling that the federal environment minister had “clearly erred in reaching his decision by failing to take into account the First Nations Applicants’ Treaty Rights and the honour of the Crown in interpreting his mandate under (the federal Species at Risk Act).” Federal Court Justice Peter Crampton ordered Kent to revisit the decision not to issue an emergency order to protect caribou.
On Jan. 13 Kent reaffirmed that an emergency order was not necessary stating that caribou are not an endangered species across the country.
Sweet said that although Kent had made his decision mid-January, the official documentation had not yet been posted because of the time needed for translation. The minister’s decision and the date of that decision came to light during a Canadian Press interview with Kent.
“There’s a very distinct difference between having … a reporter call asking a question and you answer the question and … posting it officially from the government of Canada. That’s a very distinct difference,” said Sweet.
However, Adam sees the minister’s silence in a different light.
“It feels like he didn’t want to raise it up because he knew the meeting of the chiefs was coming up and he didn’t want to bring that up as dialogue with them,” said Adam.
Sweet said that the discussion between Kent and Adam was worthwhile.
“Just because he had made the decision an emergency order was not warranted, that doesn’t mean there’s not a strategy going on,” said Sweet.
Feedback from the public on the Proposed Recovery Strategy for Woodland Caribou, Boreal Population was extended by 120 days, pushing the deadline to Feb. 22.
“(The extension) was a direct result of Environment Canada’s desire to consult with Aboriginal communities prior to actually finalizing the strategy,” said Sweet.
EcoJustice staff lawyer Melissa Gorrie said she spoke to the minister’s legal counsel just prior to filing a motion with the court on Jan. 24. That motion, on behalf of all the applicants, asked the judge to attach a time frame by which the minister had to respond to the order issued last July. Kent’s legal counsel did not inform her of the minister’s decision until after she had filed her motion. EcoJustice represents the Pembina Institute and Alberta Wilderness Association in this matter.
Gorrie said if the reasons Kent offers are the same as he initially stated, then EcoJustice will respond accordingly.
“We do this all over again, the court application we brought back last September… challenging the decision once again,” said Gorrie. “Our position is (for Kent) to decide the exact same way is unacceptable.”
Adam is also adamant in pushing for the minister to take significant action.
“We’ll put pressure on him and continue to pursue legal involvement,” he said.
In 2007 under SARA the woodland caribou became listed as a threatened species. The federal minister of environment was required at that time to prepare a recovery strategy that would protect the woodland caribou and their habitat. That action was never taken.
- Community Access
- Contact Us
- Our History
- Archives Search
- In Depth
Share this with friends
- The #IdleNoMore Movement
- Relationship between Canada's Justice System and Aboriginal People
- 2013 Guide to Powwow Country Events Calendar
- Play Radio Bingo to win!
- CFWE-FM Alberta Radio Network
- Buffalo Spirit Foundation
- Western Association of Aboriginal Broadcasters (WAAB)
- June Windspeaker - May 27
- June Raven's Eye - May 27
- June Saskatchewan Sage - May 27
- June Alberta Sweetgrass - June 10
- Download 2013 AMMSA media kits for:
* Sage - Raven's Eye - Birchbark
- Online advertising on www.ammsa.com.
Subscribe & Donate
- Order a Windspeaker digital subscription
- Order a Windspeaker print subscription
- Support independent, Indigenous media in Canada by making a donation via paypal