The New Democrats' new Species at Risk Protection Act is so closely "modeled" on a similar law in Ontario that it mistakenly references a government committee that only exists in the eastern province. The party's environment critic Rob Fleming introduced the private members' bill on May 31 - a month after Public Eye reported substantial portions of his Earth Day speech appeared to have been copied from the Earth Day Canada Website.
Speaking in the legislature, the Victoria-Swan Lake MLA said the bill was necessary because the province lacks "an explicit legislative framework that ensures B.C.'s unique and rich habitat is not lost forever from human impacts that can be better managed."
In a news release issued the same day, the New Democrats acknowledged their act was "modeled on similar legislation introduced in Ontario."
But a side-by-side comparison reveals many of the bill's passages haven't just been modelled on the Endangered Species Act - they've been lifted directly from it.
And that could explain why the New Democrats' proposed legislation would allow British Columbia's minister of agriculture and lands to halt activity that could threaten a species that has been classified as "extirpated, endangered or threatened" in a report from COSSARO - the committee on the status of species at risk in...Ontario.
In an interview New Democrat caucus communications director Sara Goldvine said the reference to COSSARO was "just a typo...So we have contacted the clerk's office about getting that mistake corrected."
Ms. Goldvine also said Mr. Fleming wasn't involved in the actual drafting of the Species at Risk Protection Act, with the opposition's research officers and co-op students penning such bills.