Please – Take Action Today!
Speak out to help stop a deadly escalation in the war on Double-crested Cormorants in Ontario.
An omnibus budget bill is hiding a proposal that lays the groundwork for the mass killing of native birds. Please contact The Honourable John Yakabuski, Ontario’s Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, and respectfully urge him to remove subsection 36 (2.1) and all references to exemptions regarding the retrieval of carcasses of killed game animals from Bill 138.
Ontario’s government has proposed a new hunting regulation that would designate Double-crested Cormorants as “game birds” (which would make them legal to hunt) and to create a lengthy hunting season where as many as 50 Cormorants per day could be killed.
This creates the real possibility that
entire colonies could be wiped out in a matter of days.
In Bill 138 – subsection 36 (2.1), hunters would be exempted from the normal regulation that requires them to retrieve the flesh of killed game animals. In other words, hunters who possess hunted game wildlife will be permitted to allow the flesh to become unsuitable for human use; they will be required to remove the dead birds but will not be required to eat or otherwise ‘use’ the bird.
The wording posted on the Environmental Registry website reads:
The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act currently prohibits anyone who kills game wildlife (including game birds), or who possesses game wildlife killed by hunting, from allowing that meat to spoil. Via this posting, the Ministry is also consulting on a proposal to amend the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act to add provisions so hunters could allow cormorant to spoil. This proposal would add provisions to the Act, so that persons who lawfully hunt (or possess) cormorants could be exempt from this requirement and would be subject to conditions that require the person to retrieve and dispose of the carcass.
Worse still, the exemption does not address the issue of how hunters will handle wounded birds who do not die immediately, which means that the wounded birds might be left behind to die slowly from their injuries and starvation.
This misguided exemption is contrary to the advice of Ministry staff that said:
Introducing a spoilage provision for cormorants is not justified and it undermines the integrity of the [Ministry] as a science-based, sustainability-focused resource management agency.
Further, we say that an exemption to allow hunters to leave bird carcasses to rot has no place in a budget bill.
The inclusion of this proposed exemption in a budget bill appears to be an attempt to avoid public scrutiny, contrary to Premier Ford’s promise of running a government with integrity and transparency.
Hiding controversial proposals in omnibus bills is a long-standing political ploy, and we recognize that Ontario’s current government is not the first to use this tactic. Nevertheless, it’s a nasty trick to play on citizens. The entire issue of loosening regulations on the killing of Double-crested Cormorants needs to be fully debated in public view, in the provincial legislature.
How You Can Help
Please write or call the Minister, Hon. John Yakbuski:
Dear Hon. John Yakabuski,
Regarding Budget Bill 138, and the inclusion of a proposal to exempt hunters from retrieving the carcasses of Double-crested Cormorants:
I respectfully request that you and your government remove subsection 36 (2.1) and all references to exemptions from the normal regulations regarding the retrieval of the carcasses of killed game animals from Bill 138.
In accordance with a good faith relationship with Ontario citizens and voters, please deal with all actions regarding Double-crested Cormorants in a transparent way through open debate in the legislature, in keeping with a good faith relationship with Ontario citizens and voters.
(your name and address)
Thank you, as always, for your advocacy and compassion. Should you have any questions, please call or write us at 416-462-9541 or firstname.lastname@example.org