In a show of cross-party unity, members from Ontario’s three opposition parties held a joint press conference calling on government MPPs to vote down the controversial Bill 108, which they say would poke large holes in Ontario’s Endangered Species Act.
At the press conference, members of provincial parliament asked the Progressive Conservatives government to do the right thing for Ontario wildlife by voting against Bill 108 this week.
“Ontario used to be a leader on conservation and biodiversity. We deserve a plan for endangered species that values scientific integrity and the precautionary principle,” Liberal MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers said in a press release.
“I’m calling on the government to press pause on this legislation, listen to the evidence and reverse the changes made in Bill 108.”
“It’s time to put partisanship aside and put the public interest first. And I’m proud to stand with other parties, municipal leaders, citizens groups and responsible developers who are saying that we can build homes for people without destroying homes for wildlife,” Green and Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner said.
The three MPPs were joined by a conservation expert who remarked on how the changes to the Endangered Species Act undermine clear scientific guidance and represent an attack on vulnerable plants and animals.
“Bill 108 will grease the wheels of destruction, making it easier and faster for sprawl developers and industry to dodge legal requirements to protect endangered species and their habitats,” Dr. Anne Bell of Conservation with Ontario Nature said.
The proposed changes will delay, limit and remove the safeguards that the law is intended to provide for species at risk, many of which are in steep decline.”
Bill 108 will be up for a third reading at Queen’s Park a week after only a day of committee hearings that precluded the vast majority of groups from sharing their input and expertise.
It has been soundly criticized by Mayor Cam Guthrie and his Large Urban Mayors Caucus of Ontario.