It’s almost May – and the provincial election is heating up!  Sooner or later there will be folks knocking on your door asking for your vote.  What are the issues that matter to you?

If protecting the environment and being a friend of nature is on your radar, here are some questions that you could ask political candidates and their volunteers.  Even asking these questions is a start to make sure this is on the radar of ALL of the provincial parties.  It may not seem like much but if many voices are asking these things it has the power to cut through the noise!

1. Under the international Convention of Biological Diversity, Canada is committed to protecting at least 17 percent of its lands and inland waters by 2020.  Eight-seven percent of Canadians support this target.  Currently in Ontario, only about 10.7 percent of our lands and inland waters are protected.

Will you party commit to achieving the 17 percent target in Ontario and initiating actions to achieve it?

2. Wetlands deliver significant benefits to society, including cleaner water, flood control, erosion reduction, and carbon storage.  Such benefits have been valued at over $14 billion per year in southern Ontario alone.  Yet, historically, over 70 percent of wetlands in this area have been lost, and the loss continues.

Will your party commit to strengthening protections for Ontario’s wetlands and addressing the negative impacts of infrastructure, urban development, and drainage?

3. The use of neonicotinoid pesticides is a leading cause in the decline of bee populations in Ontario and around the world.  Bees play a vital role in pollination and are responsible for an estimated one out of three bites of food that people eat.

Will your party support a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides and invest in identifying and promoting pollinator-friendly alternatives to pesticides for agriculture?

4. There are well over 200 species at risk in Ontario, a number that is growing every year and includes once-common species like barn swallow and monarch butterfly.

Will your party commit to protecting and recovering species at risk?

5. The Government of Ontario has initiated a process to expand the Greenbelt to better protect water resources in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. 

Will your party proceed with the Greenbelt expansion?

Asking questions like these will help to make sure that our priorities and those of the natural world are heard (nature can’t speak for itself – it depends on you!).  Think about asking these questions of your current MPP and those looking to replace them in 2018.  Be a voice for nature!