Our take: Timing of whale decision seems very convenient

Is there anyone out there who isn’t at least slightly skeptical of the removal of the humpback whale from Canada’s threatened wildlife list?

Sure, the stats indicate this awe-inspiring creature’s numbers have rebounded nicely in the past half-century, after the whaling exploits of previous generations cut hard into the coastal B.C. population.

And yes, the total of humpbacks drifting through north Pacific waters is up to 18,000 (2,200 off B.C.) now, up by more than 50% from the totals that existed around the time of the Second World War.

But is there anyone out there who actually believes this move has absolutely nothing to do with the ongoing bid to ship bitumen from the Alberta tarsands along the B.C. coastline.

The arguments surrounding the Northern Gateway pipeline project are well-made elsewhere, including one from this newspaper’s owner that runs directly underneath this space.

For the moment, we will leave that debate to others.

We would like to focus simply on the whales.

The legislation protecting them specifically pointed to ships as posing a risk — both in the case of spills, but also through routine traffic. The threatened species designation was cited in a lawsuit attempting to block the pipeline. And the decision to lift the designation specifically mentioned “small benefits to industry.”

The recovery of the humpback is a success story, one we would like to see continued through increased population growth.If the slow and steady growth of the past 65 years has been aided and abetted by the threatened species designation, why would you stop now?

Just because you think you know the answer doesn’t make it easier to swallow.

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