A Statement on the Ontario Government’s proposal to gut the Endangered Species Act
From Ontario Nature, Environmental Defence and the David Suzuki Foundation
Posted May 7th, 2019 on Niagara At Large
(A Brief Foreword from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –
In the wake of an alarming report from the United Nations, released around the world this May 6th, about a possible global species extinction disaster on an unprecedented scale, Ontario’s Ford government appears ready to do its part to help the extinction of all creatures great and small along by moving forward with plans to gut protections for endangered species at the behest of its supporters in the development industry.
We apparently can’t be “open for business” in Ontario unless we are prepared to pave what ever is left of our woodlands, wetlands and other habitat for wildlife over.
That is part of what being “open for business” in Ontario is all about – plundering what is left of our green places for low-density urban sprawl.
Shocking and outrageous, indeed!
Please people, for the sake of ourselves and for the sake of future generations, speak out against this war that Ford and his so-called “Government for the People” are waging against our natural heritage and the life-sustaining resources of our region of the world before it is too late.
We have got to let Premier Doug Ford and all members of his government know, in no uncertain terms, that if they continue along this destructive path, they better count the days until the next provincial election, because that is all the days that their careers in politics have left.
The voters of Ontario will render them extinct. Let them know now.)
Now here is the statement from the three public interest groups, Ontario Nature, Environmental Defence and the David Suzuki Foundation –
TORONTO – The Ontario government’s shocking and irresponsible proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act will effectively remove all safety nets for species at risk in this province. The proposal will give industry a free pass to exterminate species in Ontario.
This move is regressive and dangerous. The world is in a biodiversity crisis, and the Ontario government has proposed to gut one of the most comprehensive endangered species laws in the world. The province is bending to pressure from industry and sprawl developers when they should be working to restore and protect vulnerable habitats.
These changes propose to gut the cornerstones of the law that made species recovery and survival possible. Environmental Defence, Ontario Nature and the David Suzuki Foundation condemn these changes in the strongest possible terms, and call for the Government to reconsider immediately.
We are especially concerned about the proposed changes following:
- Species listed as threatened or endangered may no longer be automatically protected
- Changes to “edge of range” species means considering populations outside of Ontario when listing a species at risk. This includes many Southern Ontarian species, allowing Ontario to simply opt out of protecting species at home.
- Introducing pay-to-proceed system on harmful activities. Developers and proponents should not be allowed to pay their way out of protecting endangered species’ habitats.
- Opening the scientific committee to non-scientist members. This change could allow people with no knowledge or scientific background to be involved in decisions for species.
- Giving the Minister the discretion to interfere with the listing of at risk species, bringing politics into the protection of endangered species.
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.
About ONTARIO NATURE (www.ontarionature.org): Ontario Nature protects wild species and wild spaces across the province through conservation, education and public engagement.
About DAVID SUZUKI FOUNDATION: The David Suzuki Foundation ( www.davidsuzuki.org ) is a leading Canadian environmental non-profit organization, collaborating with all people in Canada, including government and business, to conserve the environment and find solutions that will create a sustainable Canada through evidence-based research, public engagement and policy work. The Foundation operates in English and French, with offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.
For a related story on this issue, click on – https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/05/04/sweeping-changes-buried-in-housing-bill-called-doomsday-scenario-for-ontarios-endangered-species.html .
For a story Niagara At Large posted this May 6th on the United Nations’ latest alarming forecasts on species extinction on this planet, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2019/05/07/un-issues-devastating-report-on-rapid-extinction-of-life-on-this-planet/ .
For a recent report on this issue from Ontario’s Green Party, click on – https://gpo.ca/2019/05/03/public-rejects-changes-to-endangered-species-act/ .
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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders