Protecting Sable Island


[Correction appended]

Harper Environment Minister Jim Prentice wants to protect Sable Island by turning it into a national park. He has a funny notion of protection:

  • Prentice would protect the island by ending the current ban on visitors impediments to tourism.
  • He would protect the island by inviting the private sector to ferry tourists out to visit Sable.
  • He would protect the island by continuing to allow oil and gas drilling off its shores.
  • He would protect the island by permitting the slaughter of seals that whelp there.
  • He would protect Sable by building park facilities to “take care of” the tourists he would “encourage” to visit.

With protectors like that, who needs Vlad the Impaler. Call it “protection—Reform Party style.”

So why is the NDP government playing footsie with this reckless scheme? Natural Resources Minister John Macdonell mused that Park status would bring the province closer to its goal of protecting 12 percent of the province by 2015. Sure, if you don’t mind destroying the place on the pretense of protecting it.

The last time a federal official had a bright idea about Sable was in the 1990s, when Environment Canada decided to trim a few hundred thousand dollars off its budget by terminating the 200-year-0ld manned presence on the fragile island. It took years of hard work by Zoe Lucas, Gerry Forbes, and their grass roots citizen coalition to scotch that bit of fiscal lunacy.

OK… here comes the Facebook Group: Hands Off Sable Island!

Correction: There is no ban on Sable Island, but people wanting to visit the island must go through a lot of hoops* and this limits numbers.

* A lot of hoops n my opinion, anyway. Not everyone agrees.