Greenpeace caribou caravan asks Minister Milloy to help save Ontario’s caribou

Feature story - February 17, 2011
Kitchener – Greenpeace took its caribou caravan to Training, Colleges and Universities Minister John Milloy’s constituency office today to ask him for help in stopping Premier Dalton McGuinty’s plan that threatens Ontario's woodland caribou with extinction.

“Greenpeace volunteers came here today to ask Minister Milloy to use his position in the McGuinty cabinet to help stop the countdown to extinction for Ontario’s caribou,” said Catharine Grant, Greenpeace Forest Campaigner.

The visit to Minister Milloy’s constituency office was part of Greenpeace's ramping up of its caribou caravan in response to the McGuinty government’s plan to exempt industry from the Ontario Endangered Species Act. This exemption could result in woodland caribou being wiped out in Ontario, where they are already listed as a threatened species. The McGuinty exemption would mean that caribou would have no legal protection under the very Act that was designed to save them.

“The Greenpeace caribou caravan leafleted outside Minister Milloy’s office and at Wilfrid Laurier University  to encourage voters to  contact Minister Milloy and ask for his help to stop the proposed industry exemption and hold Premier McGuinty to his promise to permanently protect woodland caribou and conserve their habitat,” said Grant.

Premier McGuinty’s planned exemption ignores Ontario Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller’s warning that “the woodland caribou is at risk of being extirpated in Ontario by the end of this century.”

In his 2009/10 annual report Miller said only 20,000 woodland caribou remain in Ontario, while their territory has shrunk by 50 per cent in little more than a century.  “The government’s plan calls itself science-based,” said Miller. “Instead, it’s faith-based.  We can only pray that caribou will survive.” 

At Minister Milloy’s office, Greenpeace activists set up black silhouette caribou, symbolizing Boreal caribou threatened with extinction, a giant hourglass counting down the time to the extinction of caribou, and a banner reading “Countdown to election. Countdown to extinction?” 

Last year, the Greenpeace caribou caravan focused on Premier Dalton McGuinty, Natural Resources Minister Linda Jeffrey, and Northern Development, Mines and Forestry Minister Michael Gravelle. So far this year it has visited Transportation Minister, Kathleen Wynne, and Minister Milloy.