American badger

An at-risk American badger reacts to hearing the Government of Ontario’s proposal for relocation.

In the quest to create more efficiencies for businesses in the province, the Government of Ontario has issued a plea to the province’s wildlife: Please move to another province and we’ll make it worth your while.

Bowing to criticism that the Endangered Species Act creates “barriers to economic development,” a provincial representative held a news conference with a large megaphone in a forest outside of Ajax, asking all wildlife to vacate the province in exchange for a generous relocation package.

The provincial government is currently reviewing the Endangered Species Act, with public consultation open until March 4, 2019. But the Province of Ontario seems to believe that it already knows what Ontarians want: while the discussion paper states that the government’s ambition in reviewing the act includes finding “positive outcomes for species at risk,” all the challenges it addresses are to industrial operators, not wildlife.

This proposed measure comes on the back of recent wins by industrial lobbyists: in 2013, an exemption regulation was passed that has become the primary means for allowing harmful activities to proceed. As of October 11, 2017, there were 2,065 registrations for exemptions. About 85 per cent were for activities that violate ESA protections for species at risk and their habitats.

“As cute and fluffy as some of you animals are, we just don’t have enough space anymore,” the representative said. “Quite frankly, your homes are increasingly in the way of business operations. We can’t have a province that’s only open for businesses that don’t get in the way of wildlife!”

He continued: “Industry says it wants certainty. And while certainty can be provided by having strong, enforced legislation that lets industrial operators know where they can and can’t go, it’s hard to deny that there’s even more certainty about not harming wildlife when there’s no wildlife to be found! More than 200 species in Ontario are currently at risk and would have difficulty surviving in the face of further habitat loss and degradation, so, although translocation is also a risk, we don’t believe that it’s necessarily more risky.”

Rachel Plotkin, boreal project manager at the David Suzuki Foundation, said the Foundation is dismayed by this announcement and is hard at work making organic, biodegradable suitcases for the wildlife to lessen the ecological impacts of the move.

Included in the Ontario government’s relocation package for the wildlife is subsidized transport to the province of their choice and seeds to plant trees and meadows in their new province.

Given that they are unable to speak for themselves, no wildlife have yet responded to the proposal.

This story is the first in a series of satirical pieces about current events.

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