Protecting Sable: The MOU

Canada and Nova Scotia signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the future of Sable Island Monday amidst considerable fanfare and media coverage.  Surprisingly, and unusually, the actual text of the agreement was not made public at the time. Normally such agreements are posted on government websites at the time of such announcements.

Thanks to the communications folks at the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, Contrarian has posted a copy which you can download here. [PDF file].*

queen_of_heartsThe MOU confirms that the process annouced Monday will unfold in two stages, only the second of which will involve the public.

First, provincial and federal bureaucrats will form a task force to consider various issues surrounding the protection of Sable Island and, within 90 days, recommend that Sable become either a national wildlife area (under the Canada Wildlife Act) or a national park (under the Canada National Parks Act). The public will have no role in this discussion.

Only after the decision was made will the public be invited to “comment on the conservation, management, and operational issues associated with the designation” recommended by the task force.

Suffice to say that people who attended Monday’s announcement came away with a very different impression: that the public would be consulted about the decision, not after it.

Where have we heard this approach to natural justice before? Oh yes:

‘Let the jury consider their verdict,’ the King said, for about the twentieth time that day.

‘No, no!’ said the Queen. ‘Sentence first—verdict afterwards.’

‘Stuff and nonsense!’ said Alice loudly. ‘The idea of having the sentence first!’

‘Hold your tongue!’ said the Queen, turning purple.

‘I won’t!’ said Alice.

‘Off with her head!’ the Queen shouted at the top of her voice.

[* The pdf is a scan of the original document. This means the text is not searchable. The document is not very long. If any Contrarian reader is a really good typist, or has optical recognition software, and would like to convert it to text, I will p[ost that version, which will ensure that people can find it using text searches. Please send the text to comments[@] Thanks!]