Species at Risk Act Needs Broad Airing: Union

by NationTalk on April 1, 2007798 Views

If passed as is, negative impacts of the Act could far outweigh its benefits

TORONTO, March 30 – Ontario’s largest forestry union is one of many groups opposing the McGuinty government’s efforts to ram through “species at risk” legislation before the end of the spring session.

“Of course something needs to be done to protect species at risk,” says Cec Makowski, Ontario Vice-President of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, “but this legislation has serious negative implications for many activities that drive Ontario’s economy, including forestry, farming, agriculture, and construction, to name a few. Yet it is being rammed through at breakneck speed without consideration for the impact it will have on many economic sectors.” “We need significant public consultation to occur all across Ontario, not just in Toronto,” adds Mr. Makowski, noting that “all stakeholders — unions, environmentalists, municipal leaders, Aboriginal groups, farmers, and others — should have an opportunity to air their concerns. To my knowledge, there has been very little, if any consultation.

“The protection of species at risk has a nice moral ring to it, but the practical effects of this legislation, which has already passed 2nd reading, will certainly come back to haunt this government if it is passed as is.

“CEP has certainly not been consulted, and we have some major concerns, especially in Northern Ontario where workers in forest-dependent communities have already been devastated by the crisis in that sector.

“The federal government’s ‘species at risk’ bill took six years to become law,” concludes Makowski. “This bill has been in the works for less than a year. It’s an important piece of legislation, but it needs to be thought through.”

For further information: Cec Makowski, (905) 371-6297

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