Media Releases

Species at risk: A troubling precedent for the Canadian economy

Montreal, July 10, 2018 – The newspaper headlines this morning take note of a Federal Court ruling that gives the federal government complete latitude to block development projects in order to protect at-risk species.

Such a decision establishes a troubling precedent. We tend to forget, but the Species at Risk Act requires that the socioeconomic effect on communities must also be considered in the implementation of habitat protection measures.

“This decision could have negative consequences for the Canadian economy, including for regions that depend on the forest,” says Alexandre Moreau, Public Policy Analyst at the MEI. “The same logic could for example lead to a moratorium on forestry activity in boreal caribou habitat, despite the extravagant economic cost.”

“A similar line of reasoning applied to the boreal caribou could threaten 5,700 jobs in Quebec alone, namely in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, the North Shore, and Northern Quebec, in addition to entailing losses of $740 million for the forestry industry,” says Mr. Moreau. “This basically amounts to saying that for each caribou saved, we would sacrifice 72 jobs and $9 million in economic development, with no guaranteed results.”

“Everyone agrees that diversity needs to be protected, but the socioeconomic interests of communities must also be considered when such decisions are made, as stipulated in the Species at Risk Act,” concludes Alexandre Moreau.

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The MEI is an independent public policy think tank. Through its publications and media appearances, the MEI stimulates debate on public policies in Quebec and across Canada by proposing reforms based on market principles and entrepreneurship.

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Interview requests: Daniel Dufort, Director of External Relations, Communications, and Development, MEI / Tel.: 514-273-0969 ext. 2224 / Cell.: 438-886-9919 / Email: ddufort@iedm.org

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