National News of Canada

On the Need for a Migratory Pollinators Act in Canada, the U.S. and Beyond

By AWN Staff 

While Canadian voters need to know the political intentions of all federal parties in the upcoming election regarding several issues, there’s one issue which is briskly growing at the grassroots level and is of supreme concern to all Canadians—and to Americans and essentially all of humanity, for that matter.

This universal issue is the need to save our pollinators. Or, more precisely, the idea of creating federal legislation about pollinators to compliment what’s happening at the grassroots level.

We could call it the Canadian Migratory Pollinators Act. Besides complimenting grassroots efforts, passing such an Act would be a welcome follow-up to Canada’s passage just over 100 years ago of a treaty to protect migratory birds.

The treaty’s mandates became law when Canada passed the 1917 Migratory Bird Convention Act and the United States, on the same basis, passed the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Notably, the U.S. House of Representatives / Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife held a hearing June 13, 2019 to consider several new pieces of legislation, including discussion of a draft bill that would override the Trump Administration’s 2017 interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. [See this link for a detailed two-page policy brief from the Maryland-based Wildlife Society about a full North American perspective on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.]

This is no small matter. Slowing and reversing the documented, sometimes severe collapse of bee colonies and the loss of butterfly populations has everything to do with making sure the human food supply does not steeply decline to the point of food shortages, food lines, and, God forbid, famine.

And the most logical thing would be for the U.S. government, given its obvious proximity to Canada and the fact that migratory birds and pollinators inevitably cross both countries, to pass a Migratory Pollinators Act just as both countries passed legislation long ago on migratory birds.

Just for starters, this issue is serious enough in its own right to galvanize public opinion in both nations, in a way that could bring people with diverse political leanings together to get involved and overcome the deep divisions that often arise in party politics.

It’s also especially fortunate for Canadians that Bee City Canada, like its sister organization Bee City USA, is already moving things forward at the municipal level by designating cities and townships as Bee Cities.

Participating cities plant flowers and other vegetation that become friendly habitats to bees and butterflies in a way that sustains and enhances their populations.

Already, there are some 30 Canadian Bee Cities (and even more in the U.S.). Thanks to tireless activists like Bee City Canada Director Shelly Candel and Orillia, Ontario activist Jeannine Hutty, the municipalities of Orillia, Severn Township, and Barrie in Ontario just recently became Canada’s newest Bee Cities.

So, with the people leading, the party leaders may follow.

And to aid in the process of creating more awareness in Ottawa, we at Awakening News (AWN) have devised a letter to all party leaders in the run-up to the Oct. 21 federal election

An image of our letter to party leaders, calling for Canada’s party leaders ahead of the next election to pass a Migratory Pollinators Act.

This letter asks the leaders to make their views known about pollinators in general and about the idea of creating and passing a Migratory Pollinators Act in particular. Click here to read the letter.

Readers can feel free to print the letter as a conversation-starter with friends, family and co-workers and, if so desired, use it as a guide to call and personally write to Members of Parliament on this matter.

Notably, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act identified wetlands (the habitat for migratory birds) as important areas to which all governments should give consideration. Creating a similar Migratory Pollinators Act would not only protect and enhance migratory pollinator populations, it would help pollinators that don’t migrate as well.

The backdrop to all this is that the science community has indicated that all is not well with our planet’s pollinators. An unavoidable question is as follows: Are those in the science community on “the same page” as our elected officials, who sometimes appear to be “educated” by lobbyists?

In Canada’s election coming up this fall, AWN therefore urges all Canadians to ask their local party representatives what their opinion is of assembling a non-partisan group to gather data and public input to aid in the possible formation of not only a Canada-wide Migratory Pollinators Act, but perhaps even a North American Migratory Pollinators Act involving the U.S. and Mexico. Monarch butterflies, which are pollinators, cover much of North America in their spectacular annual migration.

To quote Rhea Suh, former president of the Natural Resources Defense Council in an article published in the National Geographic (March 2019): “No matter how you voted in the last two elections, you didn’t vote for polluted drinking water.”

Much the same can be said of our pollinators—no matter who you voted for, you didn’t vote to allow the destruction of our pollinators’ habitat.

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