Caribou Protection Ottawa says it prefers deal to decree

Caribou Protection | Ottawa says it prefers deal to decree

Ottawa still hopes to reach a deal with Quebec to protect forest caribou rather than pass a decree that would lead to federal intervention in La Belle province.

Posted at 9:00 am


Federal Minister for Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault met with representatives of the Quebec and Labrador Indigenous Congregation on Friday. In an interview with La Presse, Mr Guilbeault states that the main focus of the meeting was on the forest caribou file.

The minister still hopes to reach an agreement with Aboriginal communities and the Quebec government to ensure caribou protection.

Guilbeault said talks with Quebec have improved since Benoit Charette assumed responsibility for wildlife and parks, which previously fell to former Forests, Wildlife and Parks Minister Pierre Dufour.

“The tone of the discussions has changed significantly. I have high hopes that we can reach a negotiated settlement with the Aboriginal nations and the Quebec government,” said the minister.

Legal Application

However, in early February, Steven Guilbeault wrote to his provincial counterpart to say he was “now bound under the law [la Loi sur les espèces en péril]to recommend to the governor on council that a protection order be issued for the vulnerable parts of the boreal caribou’s critical habitat.”

However, Steven Guilbeault asserted in an interview that he was not obliged to propose a decree to the federal cabinet.

” [Quant à la] Letter that I sent to the Government of Quebec, which was interpreted by many as an indication that I would go to the Cabinet to apply for a decree, this is not the case, “supports the minister.

“As soon as the federal government’s experts, the biologists, come to the conclusion that the habitat is not adequately protected, the species protection law obliges me to go to the cabinet, but not that I go to the cabinet to demand a resolution, he adds .

“I can go into the office and say, ‘Look, we have an agreement with the Indigenous Nations and the Quebec government.’ I can go to the office for that. Personally, I always prefer a negotiated agreement so we can work together. And it is in this perspective that we are currently working. »

A statement that prompted a reaction from Alain Branchaud, general manager of the Society for Nature and Parks in Quebec.

“If an analysis confirms that the critical caribou habitat is not being effectively protected, the Species at Risk Act obliges the Secretary to recommend a protection order to the Governor in Council. It’s in black and white in Article 61. Quebec can avoid this federal decree scenario by making a firm commitment to protect priority habitats identified by its scientists,” asserts Mr. Branchaud.

Remember, the Quebec government has pledged to come up with a caribou conservation strategy by next summer.