Class actions

Robert Handfield writes an interesting article (Western News, Oct. 23, Nature Wise column: You can fight the government and win) where he speaks to the importance of protection of species at risk and recovery strategies presently dormant.

He also suggests that a class action lawsuit on behalf of all endangered species could be the way to tackle this.

According to the government website: Habitat loss and degradation pose a significant threat to the Western Painted Turtle. Only 15 per cent of wetland and riparian habitats in the South Okanagan-Similkameen River valleys, where the Intermountain-Rocky Mountain population is found, remain. The Pacific Coast population is endangered. Rocky Mountain population is special concern; Prairie/Western Boreal – Canadian Shield population- not at risk. I have for many years watched the painted turtles in the pond at the east end of Skaha Lake. When I first started watching them about 2001 they were plentiful. Then one year whether it was the cold winter or what there was a dramatic decline in the population of these turtles.

Recently while gathering petitions at Skaha Park I struck up a conversation with a gentleman that lives in the area and he told me that when the snow gets very heavy the City dumps the excess in the pond area. Now it would seem to me that if this is true it would create a lot of pollution in the pond and could also explain the dramatic decline in the numbers of turtles.

I would be willing to join a class action on endangered species as long as it included those of special concern. I think there are thousands of people out there that would be only too happy to contribute towards this cause.

We have several people in our area that are highly regarded for their environmental concerns. If one of those people approached a lawyer on this subject I am sure it would be easy to build a class action lawsuit using the internet to spread the word and bring in revenue to put this case forward.

I was involved in a special interest class action lawsuit before where the entrance fee was $100 a year; in a broad issue like this $25. Using the net would likely be more than enough. If this happened I very much expect a private members bill would be brought forward in the House to help this class action along.

Elvena Slump