When asked recently about protecting the habitats of migratory birds, Barry Penner had this gem to share:
“The federal government has constitutional authority with respect to migratory birds because they cross boundaries.” – The Tyee
It’s true, I looked it up. It’s right there up front in the 1867 BNA Act:
Whereas the Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick have expressed their Desire to be federally united into One Dominion under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, with a Constitution similar in Principle to that of the United Kingdom:And whereas such a Union would conduce to the Welfare of the Provinces and promote the Interests of the British Empire:(…)
And whereas migratory birds are totally the responsibility of the Federal Government, so don’t go sticking your grubby hands where they don’t belong, BC Environment Minister:
Sadly, it would seem that Barry Penner’s hands are tied when it comes to the whole migratory bird situation. It seems that Queen Victoria was not a fan of as-yet non-existent Ministers of as-yet non-existent provinces, which is totally understandable (I’m looking at you, Frederick C. Colborne, Albertan Minister of Municipal Affairs from 1969-1971! Way to screw it up for everybody!) . However, if only he were to read a little further…
92. In each Province the Legislature may exclusively make Laws in relation to Matters coming within the Classes of Subjects next hereinafter enumerated; that is to say, —
(… bunch of useless junk – hospitals, prisons, blah, blah, blah)
13. Property and Civil Rights in the Province.
14. Pretty much Anything (especially regarding Birds), so long as the Minister in charge is Barry Penner, MLA for Chilliwack-Hope.
So there you go. Migratory birds are back on the table (not literally, that would be counterproductive)!
Canada’s Constitution – check it for yourself! It’s all in there!*
*may not actually all be in there