Laura the Dragonfly creating a buzz on Parliament Hill; Pleads for protection at press conference
OTTAWA – A species of dragonfly may be the next victim of the federal government’s gutting of environmental protection laws, says Sierra Club Canada. The Laura’s Clubtail Dragonfly (Stylurus laurae) along with the Coast Manroot (Marah oreganus), and Four-leaved Milkweed (Asclepias quadrifolia) had their applications to be included on the Wildlife Species at Risk list denied by Environment Minister Peter Kent earlier last month (the July 4th announcement went unnoticed in the media).
“I know I’m not majestic like a Woodland Caribou or Blue Whale, or fearsome like a Rocky Mountain Grizzly Bear, but I filled-out all the forms and even got some help from wildlife scientists. Why was our application denied - don’t we all have the same right to survive?” said Laura, a Laura’s Clubtail Dragonfly speaking at a press conference in Ottawa. “I hope someone will notice our passing,” said a dejected Laura.
The decision to deny adding the Laura’s Clubtail Dragonfly to the Wildlife Species at Risk list was made despite strong submissions to the minister that were acknowledged in the Canada Gazette, July 4, 2012: “Eleven submissions opposed the Minister’s recommendation based on claims that it was inconsistent with the Act and, in their opinion, supported by weak scientific and economic rationales.”
Laura said the decision not to list her species was surprising: “We’re not radicals or money launderers and we’ve never criticized the Harper government.”
The Laura’s Clubtail Dragonfly lives along fast flowing streams in a few isolated areas in Southwestern Ontario, so Environment Minister Peter Kent contends Laura can rely on the Ontario government for protection. But the province of Ontario is also weakening endangered species legislation.
Sierra Club Canada believes the federal government is drafting changes to gut the Species At Risk Act for introduction when Parliament returns in September.
“It is our sacred responsibility to protect all creatures from extinction. A dragonfly and two aquatic plants may not sound important but they are,” said John Bennett, Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada. “That’s why we are here today supporting Laura, and why we’re launching a national campaign to fight for Laura and all endangered species.”
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