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Ottawa must better protect the habitat of migratory birds, according to the Federal Court ;dérale

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The marbled murrelet, which nests in the old-growth forests of the British Columbia coast, is one endangered species in Canada.


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Environmental groups say a recent Federal Court ruling should prompt the federal government to take quick action to protect migratory bird habitat against the logging of old-growth forests and other forms of destruction.

Last week, a Federal Court judge sided with environmental groups Sierra Club BC and Wilderness Committee, represented by Ecojustice, who alleged that federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault misinterpreted the Endangered Species Act is too restrictive.

The groups say Steven Guilbeault took a position in 2022 that the federal government had no obligation to protect these habitats beyond nests in provincial parks, which excluded the environment more vast area that at-risk migratory birds need to survive.

If this interpretation were not called into question, the groups say that the majority of critical habitats for at least 25 endangered migratory bird species – including the marbled murrelet which nests in the old-growth forests of the coast of British Columbia – would thus not have been protected on non-federal lands across the country.

In its decision to Last week, Chief Justice Paul Crampton found the minister's interpretation was unreasonably narrow, sending the minister's safeguarding statement back to the government for reconsideration.

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The minister argued that his interpretation maximized capacity provinces to act in an area of ​​shared jurisdiction, while a broader interpretation risked compromising cooperation between levels of government.

With information from The Canadian Press

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