Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Greenpeace delivers 2,300 caribou condolence cards to Minister Linda Jeffrey
TORONTO (March 8, 2011) - Greenpeace today delivered more than 2,300 condolence cards from Ontarians who want caribou protected to Natural Resources Minister Linda Jeffrey's Queen's Park office to signal that woodland caribou will become extinct if the McGuinty government fails to keep its promise to save the species.
"These condolence cards are from Ontarians who want Premier McGuinty to stop his proposal to exempt industries from protecting caribou habitat as now required under the Endangered Species Act," said Catharine Grant, Greenpeace forest campaigner. "If the McGuinty government carries through with the exemption then Ontario's woodland caribou are on a countdown to extinction."
Early this year, the McGuinty government backtracked on its promise to protect Ontario's Boreal Forest and threatened woodland caribou by quietly proposing a plan to exempt industry from the Endangered Species Act.
As part of the plan, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) is holding invitation-only consultation meetings across Ontario.
The first was in Toronto March 1.
Greenpeace held a funeral ceremony outside MNR's closed-door meeting in Toronto.
Flanked by a Grim Reaper, a eulogist addressed mourners who surrounded a life-size coffin with the symbolic remains of Ontario's last caribou inside.
After the ceremony, Greenpeace representatives attempted to deliver the condolence cards to MNR officials at the meeting, but were prevented from doing so.
"We say there is way to have both jobs and protected caribou habitat and the McGuinty government is ignoring that win-win path," said Grant. "Creating a vibrant and green forestry economy in the North requires species such as caribou to be protected. We don't want the countdown to October's provincial election to be a countdown to extinction for Ontario's woodland caribou as well."
Key environmental organizations, including Greenpeace, and major logging companies, are working to protect caribou and build a stronger forest industry that will sustain communities through their collaborative efforts under the historic Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement.
These groups have provided advice on caribou protection to the McGuinty government but it is not reflected in its draft caribou policy.
The Greenpeace caribou caravan has visited the constituency offices of Premier McGuinty, Northern Development, Mines and Forestry Minister Michael Gravelle, Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne, Training, Colleges and Universities Minister John Milloy, and Minister Jeffrey to ask their help in saving the threatened woodland caribou by protecting the last areas of intact Boreal Forest.
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