It would be funny…

Posted: July 10, 2015 at 8:44 am   /   by   /   comments (6)

With school children arrayed at his feet, Ontario’s environment minister, Glenn Murray, announced last week his government was giving $1 million to an organization dedicated to educating children aged five to 11, about how to help protect animals and their habitats.

His advice to the children assembled at the ROM for the press event was predictable, if somewhat ham-handed: Go home and tell your parents and grandparents to use less carbon.

Murray isn’t the first to employ children to market his wares. Cereal makers, burger sellers and dictators have all used children to influence decision-makers. The Ontario government isn’t above using an effective marketing technique to sell its message, even when the moral and ethical turf is a bit squishy.

Earth Rangers formed in 2001. The funding from the province will help the organization expand its school assembly program and develop a new Grade 6 class visit program.

For Murray, this is an investment in the minds of young and impressionable children— a recruiting drive for foot soldiers in his campaign to restore his government’s credibility on environmental matters.

“The most thoughtful discussions that move people to change are discussions between children and their parents, and children and each other,” noted Murray to the children before him.

Eventually, however, Murray will be challenged to square his government’s words with its actions. Rather than educate children about nature, he risks teaching them about the nature of government.

Earth Rangers is indeed a well-respected education and conservancy organization— very much in tune with the sensitivity of the animals and plants around us, particularly those species that are struggling to survive.

Among these is the Blanding’s turtle. Last year, Earth Rangers launched a project and mission to enhance awareness of the plight of this endangered turtle species. Its Protect the Blanding’s Turtle program brought schoolchildren from across the province to the Toronto Zoo to incubate dozens of Blanding’s turtle eggs.

“Together we will watch as our turtles grow in our nursery and, as Earth Rangers, we are working together to respect wetlands and honour the ancient creatures that live there,” writes researcher Bob Johnson on the Blanding’s turtle page of the Earth Rangers website.

Later the project released 21 turtles into the creeks and marsh in the Rouge Valley.

For those who have invested time, money and heartache in protecting the Blanding’s turtle in Prince Edward County, the irony is particularly cruel.

From one desk the Ministry of Environment is paving the way for the destruction of the Blanding’s turtle. From another it is funding education programs urging our children to protect it.

Since the advent of the Green Energy Act, the province has methodically removed protections and regulatory hurdles that safeguard the environment and species at risk like the Blanding’s turtle. They have lowered, and in some cases eliminated, regulatory protections in order to streamline the path enabling wind and solar developers to transform pastoral lands into vast industrial tracts of electricity production. Almost all of which is sold at discount prices to Michigan and New York.

In Prince Edward County, the province granted a developer a permit to “harm, harass and kill” the Blanding’s turtle. Let us ponder this a moment: A provincial permit granting a developer the right to kill an endangered species. Let that sink in.

Of course, the developer has promised it will take steps to minimize the destruction of turtles and its habitat ,and that its actions will result in a benefit to the species. But a provincially appointed review panel didn’t believe it. The found the developer’s plans to protect the species simply weren’t credible. After 40 days of hearings, the review panel concluded the project would cause “serious and irreversible harm” to the endangered species.

How did the Ministry of Environment respond? It fought back with all its legal might, striving to reverse the decision and repudiate its environmental guardians.

So twisted has this ministry become, it is seeking to simultaneously save and destroy the Blanding’s turtle.

Meanwhile, the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists have waged an expensive, multi-year battle to prevent the destruction of the turtle’s vulnerable habitat at Ostrander Point. Their efforts and successes have been funded by donations and from their own pockets. No big Ontario cheques have come their way.

With fresh new funding, Earth Rangers will fan out to schools across Ontario this fall urging children to protect the Blanding’s turtle, the bobolink and other endangered species. Meanwhile, PECFN will be back in a courtroom trying to stop the same government and its agents from bulldozing the turtle’s dwindling habitat.

Listen up children, there is a lesson in this.

The best way to protect Blanding’s turtle is to give generously to the Save Ostrander Point project at





Comments (6)

  • July 13, 2015 at 8:50 am Tim

    The law is to be equally applied to everyone both legislatively and regulatorily, Section 15(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. What the gov’t is doing is breaking its own laws. There is a specific legal term I have run acrossed called “ab absurdum” that may be appropriate in this case. When you have gov’t writing laws stopping us from doing what we want on our private property and then changing the same laws to benefit specific people or companies that gets into the area of graft and corruption if not conflict of interest. This gov’t is doing nothing to be “green” and everything to destroy the flora, fauna and people of this province.

  • July 12, 2015 at 11:23 pm Tom

    The Earth Rangers would boost their credibility by refusing this taxpayers money from this revolting creature.

  • July 12, 2015 at 5:27 pm Rob Budd

    This gov’t deserves no credit for environmental preservation.In 2013, the province introduced a regulation that exempts major industries from strict protection standards under the Endangered Species Act — in many cases giving them a free pass to kill endangered or threatened species and destroy their habitat.
    We now have 10’s of thousands of acres of ag. and conservation land slated for a bulldozer for solar/wind projects. At the same time the Long Term Energy Plan is calling for increased reliance on natural gas for electricty and heating.
    This is because they are reducing our most effective GHG reducer (nuclear) in favour ofthis goofy ineffective mix of wind/solar/gas and Rube Goldberg energy storage schemes.
    So Ontario makes the cleanest energy the most expensive, destroys vast areas of habitat and increases our fossil reliance. Then covers it up with green paint and BS.

  • July 11, 2015 at 6:02 pm Segue C

    The MOECC and MNRF actually frustrate citizens efforts to be good stewards of the land and resources. They have done inadequate population research themselves but require population size as a means to prove the “test” of serious and irreversible harm to wildlife. They can delay access to even that existing data for so long it will not be included in disclosure for an Environmental Review Tribunal hearing

    The Bow Lake/ Nodin Kitigan developers did such poor research they altogether missed “significant”(according to MNRF definition) Painted Turtle habitat right in the middle of the project but oops and a work-around is OK when it is all for the sacred “Green”Energy.

    Remember the Ontario Government failed to do a proper cost/benefit analysis to prove the wind turbines are even worth the environmental damage…independent research and for that matter common sense says intermittent, unreliable can’t replace conventional, available on-demand, generation.

    This arbitrary policy-making based on ideology which first restricted local democracy then rigged outcomes is the sign of a totalitarian government. We saw one use the same tactics in Europe when the National Socialist Party engaged German Youth Groups to promote similar objectives under a cloak of green.

    What is going on in Ontario schools with “progressive”education should be considered psychological abuse.

  • July 11, 2015 at 12:08 pm Raymond

    Two kill harm and harass permits were issued for the Bobolink and Meadowlark to Northland Power Inc and their First Nation Partners UCCMM for their 60 Mw, 20,000 acre McLean’s Mountain Wind LP project on Northeastern Manitoulin Island,Ontario. Real environmental stewards. How clean and green is that? Where is the benefit to the species when they construct noisy industrial wind generators in their nesting environment? I guess the other species in this biodiverse area just take the hit.

  • July 10, 2015 at 5:10 pm Chris Keen

    Re: It would be funny …

    Glenn Murray is likely right that: “[t]he most thoughtful discussions that move people to change are discussions between children and their parents.” While we discuss environmental issues with our children, Murray has given us a golden opportunity to expand their vocabularies. We can explain to them the definitions of: disingenuous – not mentioning the “Green Energy” plan until after being elected; hypocritical – funding Earth Rangers while issuing permits to kill endangered species; egregious – the government’s treatment of its citizen’s rights by fighting its own ERT decisions; transparent – leaving it to others to point out the hundreds of millions of dollars being wasted every year by the mismanagement (there’s another word) of the electrical grid; and legacy – the fact that it is our children who will be paying for this sorry mess for the rest of their lives. There are probably more, but this is a start.

    Chris Keen,

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