VANCOUVER – Ecojustice is calling for parties and candidates in British Columbia to make climate action and the protection of endangered species and old-growth forests key priorities in the lead-up to the Oct. 24 election.
B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan announced the provincial election on Sept. 21. Devon Page, the executive director of Ecojustice, issued the following statement in response:
“When it comes to protecting our climate for future generations, saving endangered species in the midst of a global biodiversity crisis and protecting precious old-growth forests, British Columbia has a critical leadership role to play.
“B.C. was an early champion of a price on carbon and other green policies. It is home to thousands of species and ecosystems, from iconic killer whales to old-growth Douglas firs. And polling shows that the majority of British Columbians — 57 per cent* — agree that climate action should be at the centre of the province’s COVID-19 recovery strategy.
“Yet the province’s laws and policies haven’t always lived up to its green reputation. Greenhouse gases rose under the NDP-Green coalition, and the government failed to live up to its commitment to introduce endangered species legislation.
“As British Columbians prepare to head to the polls, Ecojustice urges parties and candidates to put forward platforms that demonstrate their commitment to the environment. Specifically, we are calling for candidates to prioritize three key areas that matter to British Columbians:
- Close the climate gap. British Columbia’s current climate plan, CleanBC, leaves a 25 per cent gap between the province’s projected emissions and its climate targets. The incoming provincial government must have a clear plan to address this discrepancy.
- Protect endangered species. British Columbia is home to more species than any other province but does not have a standalone law to protect them, making it an outlier among Canada’s provinces. Ecojustice calls on the incoming provincial government to introduce a law that will protect the province’s species.
- Save B.C.’s old-growth forests. After decades of poorly-regulated forestry practices, British Columbia’s old growth forests are dwindling. This isn’t just bad for the trees. It hurts the species that rely on old-growth forest for habitat and destroys an important provider of carbon storage. B.C.’s incoming government must put measures in place to better protect the province’s old-growth.
“In the coming month, Ecojustice looks forward to reviewing party platforms and working with candidates to put forward a vision of British Columbia that includes a safe climate, thriving species and ecosystems, and protections for the province’s unique old-growth forests.”
Ecojustice goes to court and uses the power of the law to defend nature, combat climate change, and fight for a healthy environment. Its strategic, innovative public interest lawsuits lead to legal precedents that deliver lasting solutions to Canada’s most urgent environmental problems. As Canada’s largest environmental law charity, Ecojustice operates offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, and Halifax.
Ecojustice was founded in Vancouver, B.C., in 1990. Since then, Ecojustice lawyers have played a critical role in protecting the province’s species, communities and ecosystems, including precedent-setting victories to defend spotted owls, endangered Southern Resident killer whales and wild salmon.