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Can we hold the Asian carp

invasion at bay?

By MPP Toby Barrett

As 2014 winds down, it looks like our Great Lakes have managed to keep Asian carp at bay for another year.

With the list of invasive species, now established in the Great Lakes reaching 185 some people aren’t taking the threat of Asian carp seriously, assuming it to be another addition to the list. Make no mistake, Asian carp would change the Great Lakes forever. Reaching 100 pounds in size and breeding as many as three times per year, Asian carp often become the dominant biomass. Asian carp don’t consume native species, but feed on the plankton at the base of the food chain that fish like perch, walleye and bass live off. On top of this, the silver jumping carp are an impediment for boaters.

Last winter I testified at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hearings on the report looking at options for the Chicago Area Waterways that join Lake Michigan to the Asian carp-infested Mississippi River basin. The report looked at a number of options to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes, and invasive species in the Great Lakes out of the Mississippi.

Many people are calling for physical separation, which means rebuilding a physical barrier between the two watersheds. I favour ecological separation, where technology keeps the fish from travelling between the two basins. Some of the options use electricity, water cannons, chemicals and modified locks.

There has been some progress in keeping these behemoths fish at bay.

The provincial government has reintroduced its Invasive Species Act. If passed, Ontario would be the only province with invasive species legislation. While I applaud the government for bringing the legislation forward, it is lacking in some quarters. I have been calling for any Asian carp coming into Toronto for food – which is a $5 million per year business –first be gutted and have their heads removed. Yet, it isn’t in the bill. The law requires any Asian carp for food is to be dead, but there have been several charges laid because the fish weren’t dead. All it would take is one of the trucks transporting Asian carp into Ontario to get into an accident, and an accidental spill for Armageddon to start.

One of my personal concerns has been Eagle Marsh, a wetland in Indiana that sits on the continental divide where the waters flowing to Lake Erie are one wetland from those flowing west to the Mississippi. A fence was all that separated the waters, but thankfully construction of a berm started this summer to separate the two watersheds.

Earlier this summer, MP Diane Finley announced federal funding to open an Asian carp lab at the Centre for Inland Waterways in Burlington. When the grass carp were found in the Grand River, it had to be sent to the United States to confirm it was sterile, which took days. Time could be of the essence if Asian carp were found in Canadian waters and the lab will allow speedier testing and response, if necessary.

This summer contracted commercial fishing took place below the Chicago barrier and 2.6 million pounds of Asian carp was removed. Further downstream, another three million pounds was removed by fishing.

Most commercial fishing for Asian carp ends up in fish meal. I hope that doesn’t become the future of Lake Erie’s commercial and recreational fishery.

Newsroom


Barrett bill to address infectious diseases

SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has introduced a bill that will address infectious diseases such as Lyme, West Nile and Ebola.

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When will we see local food in hospitals and schools?

QUEEN'S PARK – Ontario’s Agriculture Minister refuses to answer when the entire Local Food Act will be proclaimed.

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Barrett urges people to testify on insurance bill

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett agrees with committee hearings to allow more input on Bill 15, Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act, 2014 in the wake of second reading debate on the legislation Monday.

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Unemployment trend continues
SIMCOE - For 93 consecutive months Ontario’s unemployment has stood higher than the national average.

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Who’s looking out for us when it comes to infectious disease?

Simcoe – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is questioning how well Ontario is prepared to deal with emerging infectious disease.

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Farmers, food banks and the needy will now benefit from Local Food Act

QUEEN'S PARK – Good news today for farmers, food banks and the needy as one of the most important aspects of the Local Food Act is proclaimed.

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Ontario’s finances continue in wrong direction

SIMCOE – Ontario’s deficit continues to go up and up and up, according to the Ontario Government’s Public Accounts Office.

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Let’s work through U.S. Steel creditor protection one step at a time: Barrett
SIMCOE – “Our Opposition Caucus is concerned about the significant news that U.S. Steel Canada has applied for creditor protection,” said Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett. “I have been in touch with the union, the company and the Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Employment, and Infrastructure. It is important all concerned work together for common cause.”

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Why isn’t the champion of local food serving up good news?

SIMCOE – Why are people so confused with the status of the Local Food Act?

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Uncertainty swirls with regard to Local Food Act
OUTDOOR FARM SHOW, WOODSTOCK -- Where does the Local Food Act stand?

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Barrett calls for action on poverty
SIMCOE – In the wake of the government releasing its second five-year anti-poverty strategy, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett questioned what will truly be done to assist the less fortunate in society.

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Ontario loses almost 30,000 full time jobs in July

SIMCOE – Statistics Canada’s July jobs report shows Ontario lost 29,300 full time jobs last month.

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Hydro customers heavily subsidizing energy pensions

SIMCOE – Every day taxpayers are finding it increasingly difficult to save and invest, largely because they are paying for unaffordable energy costs and bloated energy agency pensions.

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New tax driving Ontario airline tickets sky high

QUEEN’S PARK –Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett believes the government’s new aviation tax could have a direct impact on the riding.

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New tax driving Ontario airline tickets sky high

QUEEN’S PARK –Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett believes the government’s new aviation tax could have a direct impact on the riding.

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Carr lauded in Ontario Legislature

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett paid tribute to Annaleise Carr’s Radical Crossing 2.0 in the Ontario Legislature earlier today.

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Barrett echoes concerns about hunting and fishing license money

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP wants to see more accountability from the Ministry of Natural Resources Special Purpose Account (SPA), especially in light of proposals to increase fees.

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Barrett renews call for gutting Asian carp imported into Ontario
QUEEN’S PARK – During Question Period, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett renewed his call for the province to require Asian carp entering Ontario first be gutted.

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Budget leading Ontario down an expensive garden path

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett believes the Ontario budget is not only leading the province down the wrong path, it’s taking it down the garden path.

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Barrett appointed Opposition Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Critic

QUEEN'S PARK - Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has been appointed as the PC Opposition’s Critic for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

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Premier’s promise has a $30.2 billion discrepancy

Queen’s Park – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett took time during Question Period today to remind Premier Wynne that in 2012 she committed to eliminate Ontario’s deficit by fiscal year 2017-18.

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Ontario credit rating outlook downgraded

QUEEN’S PARK – Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded Ontario’s credit rating outlook to negative.

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Legislature reconvenes July 2

SIMCOE – The Ontario Legislature resumes on July 2.

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Back to work at Queen’s Park in July – Barrett

Simcoe – Fresh off the campaign trail, MPPs are being called back to Queen’s Park on July 2nd.

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Lack of full-time Ag Minister reflected in less than adequate budget

SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is questioning how farmers are benefiting from a part-time Agriculture Minister given the low profile of farming and rural Ontario in the May 1 budget.

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Local MPP looking for input on Not-For-Profit legislation
Queen’s Park – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett wants input from local not-for-profit organizations regarding the government’s Bill 85 titled, Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA).

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Barrett reiterates need for Hagersville bypass

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett renewed the call for a truck bypass in Hagersville during debate in the Ontario Legislature today.

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Why hasn’t Wynne proclaimed Local Food Act?

SIMCOE – Toby Barrett, Haldimand-Nofolk MPP, is questioning why the Local Food Act hasn’t been proclaimed even though it was passed six months ago. The act would increase local food in the broader public sector.

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Deadlines approaching for big game draws

HAGERSVILLE – Draw dates for big game entry draws are approaching.

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Electricity prices going up – again!

SIMCOE – May Day will be more of a distress call than a celebration this year as Ontario residents already struggling with skyrocketing electricity prices will start paying even more.

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Ontario an economic drain on Canada: study

SIMCOE – A recently-released independent study has found Ontario’s lagging economy is dragging down the rest of the country.

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Invasive species bill requires extensive consultation: Barrett

Queen’s Park – During an Ontario Legislature speech on the Invasive Species Act – Bill 167 - Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett reminded homeowners that not all invasive species are aquatic.

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Pull over for flashing green lights

QUEEN’S PARK – April 10 marked the 20th anniversary of the passage of legislation that provided volunteer firefighters the right to use flashing green lights when responding to a fire call.

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College of Trades one year old

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett joined the spirit of thousands of
apprentices across the province who noted the first anniversary of paying new fees to the
Ontario College of Trades with frustration and grief.

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Ontario’s long-term economy forecast is dismal: Barrett

QUEEN'S PARK – Ontario’s Long-Term Report on the Economy is additional proof the
McGuinty-Wynne government has no plan to create jobs or balance the budget, Haldimand-
Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has charged.

[Read More]