Media Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Letter To The Premier

June 17, 2008

Legislative Building
Queen's Park
Toronto ON M7A 1A1

Dear Premier McGuinty,

The woodland caribou is an iconic Canadian species, and a symbol of Ontario's wilderness. Sadly, this symbolic and ecologically significant species has faced dramatic decline in the last century due to industrial development, and scientists now predict that it may become extirpated from Ontario within this century if the current rate of habitat loss continues.

Last year, the new Endangered Species Act (ESA) passed by your government was heralded by non-government organizations as the best species-at-risk legislation in Canada. We were particularly pleased that the Act made provisions for habitat protection and prioritized woodland caribou conservation by fast-tracking regulations for the species and we continue to support the ESA as a critical piece of legislation to halt biodiversity loss in Ontario.

We are, however, deeply disappointed by your government's recent proposal to exempt forestry from the ESA for the next year. Forestry constitutes one of the largest threats to woodland caribou. In fact, caribou have lost 34 kilometres of range every decade in Ontario, largely due to the northward expansion of forest operations. Under the current system, government-approved forest management plans would allow logging of one million hectares of caribou habitat. The status quo needs to change if caribou are to survive in Ontario and we believe that an exemption for forestry contravenes the spirit of the new ESA.

During the last election campaign, you promised to "implement our nation-leading Endangered Species Act, beginning with a plan to protect large scale areas for caribou habitat in the Boreal Forest." We urge your government to follow through on this promise and take tangible and decisive action to prevent decline of woodland caribou by:

  1. Not exempting logging from the ESA
  2. Protecting large scale areas for caribou habitat, beginning with an immediate halt to logging and road building in intact caribou habitat

This would ensure that you deliver on this important election promise as it would allow options to remain available while a comprehensive habitat regulation for caribou is developed.

We hope that you will take seriously your commitment to all of Ontario's species-at-risk "and woodland caribou in particular" and act now to protect their habitat.

Sincerely,

Andrew KellmanHalton/North Peel Naturalists Club
Anita Caveney, PresidentMcIlraith Field Naturalists Club
Anne Lewis, PresidentSix Mile Conservationists Club
Anne Mitchell, Executive DirectorCanadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy
Arlene Montgomery, Program DirectorFriends of the Wild Swan
Bob Bowles, PresidentKids for Turtles Environmental Education
Brenda Lorenz, PresidentSarnia Urban Wildlife Committee
Carly Armstrong, Forest CampaignerEarthroots
Carol Koenig, PresidentGuelph Naturalists
Caroline Schultz, Executive DirectorOntario Nature
Chris Grooms, PresidentKingston Field Naturalists
Chris McLaughlin, Executive DirectorCoalition on the Niagara Escarpment (CONE)
Dan Bisonnette, Program CoordinatorNaturalized Habitat Network
Dan McDermott, DirectorSierra Club Ontario
Diane Sutter, ChairFriends of Sauble Beach
Dieter Schonefeld, Club RepresentativeSudbury Naturalists
Emily Conger, PresidentAlgonquin to Adirondacks
Eric Davis, DirectorKawartha Field Naturalists
Gerard Macgillivray, PresidentPenokean Hills Field Naturalists
Gideon Foreman, Executive DirectorCanadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
Gord McNulty, Director at LargeHamilton Naturalists Club
Ilka Milne, PresidentRainy River Valley Field Naturalists
Jacquie Barnes, DirectorAnimal Alliance
Janet Sumner, Executive DirectorCPAWS-Wildlands League
Joanne Avison, Club RepresentativeUpper Credit Field Naturalists
John McDonnell, Executive DirectorCPAWS-OV
John Patterson, CoordinatorNippissing Environmental Watch (NEW)
Justin Duncan, Staff LawyerEcojustice
Leslie Adams, PresidentProtect Our Water and Environmental Resources
Michael J. Kellett, Executive DirectorRESTORE: The North Woods
Michael McPhail, PresidentMississipi Valley Field Naturalists
Mike Wilton, DirectorAlgonquin Ecowatch
Nicole Rycroft, Executive DirectorMarkets Initiative
Noah Greenwald, Science DirectorCenter for Biological Diversity
Paul Hilpers, DirectorBert Miller Nature Club of Fort Erie
Rachel Plotkin, Biodiversity Policy AnalystDavid Suzuki Foundation
Rick Smith, Executive DirectorEnvironmental Defence
Sarah Harmer, Co-ChairProtecting Escarpment Rural Land
Sheila Fleming, Club RepresentativeIngersoll District Nature Club
Stewart Chisholm, Program DirectorEvergreen
Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, Senior AttorneyNatural Resources Defense Council
Sylvia Bowman, Conservation CoordinatorYork Simcoe Naturalists

You can also access a PDF copy by clicking on the following link Letter to the Premier.

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Caribou can't survive without a place to live. Tell industry and government that you expect them to take action to secure a brighter future for this species at risk.

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