How Nova Scotia naturalists forced the province to uphold its Endangered Species Act

Zack Metcalfe
Canada’s National Observer
June 22, 2020

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The Nova Scotia government just lost a 16-month lawsuit to a flower, moose, turtle, two birds and a tree, which, it goes without saying, has never happened before.

Zack Metcalfe

This is the first time Nova Scotia’s Endangered Species Act has been the subject of legal action, and the first time such legislation has been upheld in a Maritime court, setting several legal precedents that could have enormous consequences for regional conservation. […] Juniper Law is preparing for another lawsuit against the Department of Land and Forestry for its controversial decision to delist Owls Head Provincial Park on the province’s eastern shore, and attempt to sell it to a developer for the construction of three golf courses, thus undermining the sanctity of other protected areas across the province.

This move was done without public consultation and without public knowledge until it was revealed months after the fact by an investigative reporter with the CBC.

In this new case, filed in late January, Simpson’s clients are Bob Bancroft, president of the Federation of Nova Scotia Naturalists, and Eastern Shore Forest Watch, an organization dedicated to the protection of land on the province’s eastern shore. Bondrup-Nielsen and the Blomidon Naturalists Society were very nearly clients for this lawsuit as well, but the board meeting at which they voted to join was held after the suit was filed.

This lawsuit and the one concerning species at risk were afforded by way of fundraising and crowdsourcing.

If the lawsuit over Owls Head Provincial Park is given permission by the court to proceed, it will likewise set precedent in Nova Scotia law.

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