“It appears that the Ministry of Natural Resources is walking away from many parts of its job to safeguard wildlife and natural resources.” – Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller, 2012/13 Annual Report
QUEEN’S PARK – Today, Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Jeff Yurek demanded the Minister of Natural Resources come clean on how the funds of its Special Purpose Account are spent.
The Special Purpose Account is funded by the fees collected on hunting and fishing licences. The mandated purpose of the account is to manage Ontario’s fish and wildlife resources. Many in the hunting and angling community have expressed concern over the lack of accountability on these funds.
“I’ve talked to a number of hunters and anglers and they tell me that the fees for licences continue to go up with fewer services being offered,” said Yurek. “We’ve seen this government squander money with no accountability for too long. The Ministry is failing on accountability by not providing timely and relevant information on the SPA to those who actually foot the bill.”
The Environmental Commissioner’s annual report released last fall also noted a reduction in the MNR’s resource management efforts. Despite the decreased activity, the MNR is moving ahead with plans to collect additional fees. One such fee would require seniors to pay for fishing licences, something from which they’ve long been exempted.
“We’ve seen this government overspend for years. Now they’re coming back to Ontario residents – after reducing service levels – and asking them to fork over more money,” said Yurek.
Yurek also questioned the Minister over the fact that the most recent report that’s available to the public regarding the SPA is for 2010/11. Reports for the past two years have not yet been tabled with the legislature.
“I can’t understand how the Ministry finds it acceptable to release annual reports on the SPA two years after the information is relevant,” said Yurek.
“At a time when they’re asking Ontarians to pay more money, they continue to snub accountability. I will continue to demand that the Minister release a detailed and updated account on the SPA immediately.”
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