moved for leave to introduce Bill C-363, An Act to amend the Species at Risk Act (amendment of the List).
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise today to introduce my bill that would amend the Species at Risk Act, or SARA, to close a loophole that allowed governments to completely ignore scientific advice regarding the status of our most vulnerable species.
Under SARA, that advice comes from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, or COSEWIC. The act would give the Minister of Environment nine months to make a decision whether to list or not.
Unfortunately, the former government felt there was enough ambiguity in the act to say that the clock began ticking only when the minister told cabinet of COSEWIC's advice. During the former Conservative majority government, COSEWIC assessed 82 species as requiring protection. The government did not make a decision on any of those species—not one.
My bill would simply amend the act to clearly start the clock when COSEWIC sends its letter of advice to the minister. I hope the government will support this bill and return the Species at Risk Act to its original intent and force.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)