Winner of 2017 Giller Prize

Winner of 2017 Giller Prize
Michael Redhill for his novel Bellevue Square

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Marvelous and Timely Poem by Ulrich Wendt

 
Ulrich Wendt
Author’s Note:
In 2012, the Harper Government of Canada removed a number of important environmental protections from several pieces of legislation including the Fisheries Act.  Along with many internationally renowned  environmental scientists, four former Conservative and Liberal Cabinet Ministers pointed out that over 80 species of freshwater fish would be placed in danger of extinction. One of these species is a little minnow left over from the last ice-age that lives only in the Whitemouth and Birch Rivers of Eastern Manitoba and nowhere else in Canada. Environmentalists have noted that the removal  of Federal protection will probably doom this fish within 10 years.
There is, however, some good news. At the same time as it weakened environmental protection, the Harper government announced it would no longer fund the world-famous Experimental Lakes program – essential for freshwater research and unique in the world. But now Manitoba and Ontario have announced that they will jointly maintain the program along with private partners. In celebration, I have revised and re-issued the poem below.
-          Ulrich Wendt, May 2, 2013
 On the Federal Government’s Repeal of the Fisheries Act
The mouth of the Whitemud River is the last remaining home
Of a useless little fish – the Carmine Shiner.
It flashes ruby-red to no important point
And the shapeless men of Ottawa can see no cash in it.
 
 
And so it has to slip away from the fabric of the whole
And few will note its passing.
But though the thing is surely finished on this earth
I raise a mild reproach – our dignity demands it.
 -          Ulrich Wendt, April 13, 2013



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