A group of Alberta and Saskatchewan environmentalists asked former environment minister Peter Kent to issue an emergency protection order for the sage grouse under the federal Species at Risk Act. There are very few of the birds left and scientists worry they could disappear altogether if their habitat is not protected from development. When they received no response, they filed an application in the Federal Court for an order compelling the Minister to act. The Ministry responded that it has the power to make such an order, but because it involves Cabinet decision-making, it is protected by Cabinet confidentiality, and furthermore, that it doesn’t have to say if a decision has or has not been made. The Federal Court of Appeal ruled that if this proposition was correct it would have the effect of sheltering from review every refusal to make a recommendation for an emergency order. The Court sent the dispute to a Case Management Judge with the understanding that the Minister will communicate his position unequivocally.
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