Clark ‘pleasantly surprised’ cormorant bill moves ahead

Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark. (Steve Clark MPP via Newswatch Group)

QUEEN’S PARK – A proposed bill to control the population of double-crested cormorants has taken a big step ahead, leaving local MPP Steve Clark pleasantly surprised.

MPP Bob Bailey’s private member’s bill, called the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Amendment Act (Double-Crested Cormorants), passed second reading today (June 2) with all-party support.

“I’m pleasantly surprised the government did the right thing by not standing in the way of allowing this legislation to pass this step in the legislative process,” Clark said. “Now, I look forward to their co-operation to ensure we can get through the committee process, including public hearings, and bring the bill back for final reading.”

But how long it takes for the bill to get through the committee and out to the public for feedback will “be the true test,” Clark said.

The birds have created a lot of damage along the St. Lawrence River and inland waterways, including the Rideau River system, in Leeds-Grenville.

The law would give the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry a broad range of methods to control the cormorant population.

Clark said the birds have been a threat to the environment and tourism and the government has been inactive on controlling the numbers of birds because it’s using old data.