Ontario's new minister of natural resources accused of harming threatened turtles
Ontario's new natural resources minister is facing quite a bizarre charge for someone in his position.
Progressive Conservative MPP for Parry-Sound Muskoka Graydon Smith is scheduled for a hearing to determine whether he harmed a threatened turtle species during his time as the mayor of Bracebridge, Ontario.
The small town is located just north of Toronto and is home to a sizeable Blanding's turtle habitat and population.
The charges allege that Smith and the Town of Bracebridge harmed the at-risk turtle species by posing danger to their habitat in June and August 2021.
The charges were made by a private citizen and accuse Smith of violating the Endangered Species Act.
The town's chief administrative officer also sent a letter to a citizen in September 2021 who was concerned about road work altering the turtles' habitat.
The letter explained to the citizen that the town is prioritizing the turtles' safety by putting up turtle crossing signs to minimize any damage.
A judge has set the hearing date for Sept. 21.
Smith was unveiled as the newly appointed Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry just last week.
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