So far unreported in the press, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has been under assault by the Ford government. This situation is especially tragic given the historic significance of its role in environmental protection. The MNRF has evolved to become the guardian of bio-diversity in Ontario.
Evolving out of the Department of Lands and Forests, MNRF, has been characterized by its conservationist use of science. The department’s work evolved from its Forest Protection Branch created in 1911 by the then-Chief Forester of Ontario, Edmund Zavitz.
Zavitz’s original mission: saving cities from fires set by agricultural clearing and ending floods sparked by southern Ontario’s deforestation continues via the MNRF and conservation authorities. Zavitz’s focus on science-based decision-making helped guide the ministry to the protection of bio-diversity. Most of its staff resources are dedicated to this challenge. Hence, offices in denuded Southwestern Ontario have more staff than the forest dominated landscape of Northern Ontario.
Much like the sloganeering American government of President Donald Trump, that of Ontario Premier Doug Ford, bashes laws that protect nature, such the Endangered Species and Environmental Protection Acts. However, worse problems go on behind the scenes. This is why the words of whistle blowers, scientists who see what is going on where reporters dare not venture are so important.
From a reliable source, who wrote to me on conditions of anonymity, I received a disturbing report on the current status of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF).
The source wrote:
“Good to hear from you. Unfortunately, the Ministry is broken and not functioning due to the Ford government’s changes.
Sending them anything is like a fart in the wind. It just vanishes without a trace.
I have repeatedly sent them info on rare species which are continually destroyed.”
Protecting nature requires public vigilance more than ever before when public servants struggling to do their work are handcuffed through trickery.