TORONTO – In a move sure to delight both hockey fans and nature-loving MPPs at Queen’s Park, Environmental Defence today set the stage for the second-reading vote of the Endangered Species Act by issuing sets of endangered species trading cards. The cards match up each member of the Ontario legislature with a species at risk in the province, charging each MPP with the job of ensuring their species is protected from extinction.
“This time of year reminds us of two of our greatest national treasures, hockey and the re-awakening of nature. While we learned to live reluctantly without hockey during the 2005 strike, we can’t live without species,” said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environmental Defence. “We hope MPPs of all political stripes get into the spirit of the season by collecting the whole set of these endangered species trading cards and passing the new Endangered Species Act without delay.”

Bill 184, the government’s proposed overhaul of the 1971 Endangered Species Act, was introduced last month by Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay, who is matched with the Loggerhead Shrike. Among the other matchings: Premier Dalton McGuinty is paired with the Monarch Butterfly; Environment Minister Laurel Broten is paired with the Broad Beech Fern; Opposition Leader John Tory is paired with the Eastern Wolf; and NDP Leader Howard Hampton is paired with the Woodland Caribou.

The bill, which followed extensive public consultation and the advice of a blue-ribbon expert panel, would provide effective protection for Ontario’s approximately 200 species at risk and their habitats. Quick passage of Bill 184 is needed because for those plants and animals for which trends are known, over 75% are either already gone from Ontario or are on their way to disappearing.

“Extinction is forever,” said Dr. Smith.  “So Ontario’s endangered species shouldn’t be forced to wait even longer before they are protected.”

Environmental Defence will be presenting the trading cards at a reception for MPPs and journalists today at 5:00 pm, Committee Room 228 at Queen’s Park.

About Environmental Defence (www.environmentaldefence.ca) Environmental Defence protects the environment and human health. We research. We educate. We go to court when we have to. All in order to ensure clean air, safe food and thriving ecosystems. Nationwide.
 
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For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 x 232; (647) 280-9521 (cell)