Ontario’s natural areas are under attack right now

Over the last couple of years, the current government has increased its efforts to find ways to open more and more natural heritage to development. They started by closing the Environmental Commissioner’s office and making it harder for citizens to have a say in protecting the environment. Then they went on to weaken the Species at Risk Act, move the responsibility of conservation away from the Ministry of Natural Resources where expertise was gathered, and open up more Crown Land and Algonquin Park for logging. The climax of this attack on nature was to take away the power of protecting nature and people from the Conservation Authorities. As of this writing, the latest move is to make it legal to use a Minister’s Zoning Order to destroy any wetland, woodland or any other wildlife habitat in Ontario to build a warehouse, a parking lot or any other buildings that developers wish to construct. The only area excepted is the Greenbelt, but somehow Duffins Creek Wetland is included.

By the time you read this newsletter, it will probably be too late to call or write your MPP and the Minister of Municipalities and Housing to protest this destructive law – Schedule 3 in Bill 257. But groups like Ontario Nature, Environmental Defense and the Green Party of Ontario are all urging people to continue to call and write protesting the gutting of the Conservation Authorities’ powers under Schedule 6 of Bill 229.

The more people who make their views known, the more powerful the message. The Board of Saugeen Nature urges you to call and write your MPP, Doug Ford and his Ministers, to enter your protest against the irreparable harm that the current government is doing to Ontario’s natural areas. It is very easy to do, only takes a few moments, and will potentially save some of our vital natural infrastructure and wildlife habitat.

Contact information for key players:

Bill Walker, MPP for Bruce Grey, Owen Sound – bill.walker@pc.ola.org
Lisa Thompson, MPP for Huron, Bruce – lisa.thompson@pc.ola.org
Hon. Jeff Yurek, Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks minister.mecp@ontario.ca Hon. Steve Clark, Minister of Municipalities and Housing – minister.mah@ontario.ca
Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario – doug.fordco@pc.ola.org

It is also good to copy your emails to opposition MPPs as well, including Mike Schreiner. All our representatives need to know where we stand.

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I the undersigned, wish to have my child
participate in the following activity
sponsored by the Saugeen Naturalists. As part of registering my child, I hereby agree as follows:
1. That I acknowledge that there are inherent risks associated with this activity and that my child could sustain personal injury through participation in this activity and I am hereby accepting to take that risk on behalf of myself or my child.

2. To save harmless and keep indemnified the Saugeen Naturalists and the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority and their respective agents, official servants and representatives against all claims and actions, costs and expenses and demands, in respect of injury, loss or damage or death to myself or my child’s person.

3. That I acknowledge that in this situation volunteers are involved in supervising this activity and that I shall accept the responsibility of observing my child’s participation in this activity and should I have any objection to the manner in which my child or myself are being supervised or instructed, I accept the responsibility to remove myself or my child from this activity.

This agreement shall be binding upon myself, my heirs, executors and assigns.