PC’s Cut Red Tape in Endangered Species Act

(Queen’s Park)—Lisa Thompson, MPP (Huron-Bruce) stood up in the Ontario Legislature to speak on behalf of a private members bill put forth by her colleague, MPP Laurie Scott (Halliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock) to cut red tape when it comes to endangered species. Bill 73, passed on second reading yesterday by a narrow 30-29 vote.

Scott’s bill deals specifically with species at risk, and the way the current government addresses endangered species. Scott wants it to be mandatory for the Natural Resources Ministry to consider social and economic factors, including job losses and the loss of land use, when developing plans for species recovery and habitat protection. Currently, it is not mandatory.

“I am pleased this bill is going forth to committee,” said Thompson. “Right now the Ministry is not considering the social and economic factors when placing an animal on the species at risk list, and can be very damaging to many sectors—including agriculture and construction.”

An example of this would be the placement of the bobolink on the species at risk list. The bobolink migrates through two continents, at its various stops they are considered a delicacy, a pest, and here inOntariothey are an endangered species. They like to nest in long grass or hay—which means if a bobolink is nesting in a hay field, the hay cannot be cut which has dire economic consequences for theOntariofarmer.

“The bobolink is a prime example of why this legislation needs to be changed,” said Thompson. “In our current economic times, we need to ensure we are doing everything we can to make sure red tape isn’t holding our farmers and job creators back.”

The legislation also requires that the ministry give more than thirty days for individuals to comment on the placement of an animal on the species at risk list, and requires the ministry to public post the results of the comment period for greater accountability.


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