September 28, 2022

La Ronge Northerner

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Monarch Butterflies at Trudeau Airport | Montreal called for “redoubled pressure” on Ottawa

Urgent “permanent protection” of wasteland cut by Aéroports de Montréal (ADM), where thousands of milkweed plants serve as food for monarch butterflies, drew official opposition to city hall on Thursday.

Posted at 2:38 pm.

Henri Ouellette-Vezina

Henri Ouellette-Vezina

“The cutting in the Champ des Monarques is a wake-up call. The City of Montreal must reiterate to the federal government the urgent need to protect biodiversity and others located north of its airport. These can finally be integrated into the Parc-Nature des Sources project, a great environmental legacy for future generations. Will change,” said Saint-Laurent Mayor Alan DeSousa on Thursday.

In July, Quebec elected officials expressed their concerns about ADM’s descriptions of the recent cutting of the “Champ des Monarchs,” an enormous natural habitat the size of 10 soccer fields rich in biodiversity. The 19-hectare area cut by ADM is part of a 200-hectare green zone adjacent to Trudeau Airport, the size of Mount Royal Park.

  • Before cutting

    Photo by Technopark OISEAUX

    “King field” before cutting

  • After cutting

    Photo by Technopark OISEAUX

    “King Field” after cutting


Provincial Liberal MP Marwa Riski and New Democratic Party (NDP) vice-president Alexandre Bouleris jointly called on the federal government to act quickly to protect all these “urban lungs”. On the island of Montreal. Citizens group Technopark Oysox says it has identified at least 4,000 more milkweed plants that feed on monarch butterflies.

At the time, the office of Transport Minister Omar Alcabra indicated that a meeting was planned “soon between the minister and the airport to discuss the situation” and “request details on the next steps in this file”, “based on the urgency of the situation”.

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“Double the pressure”

A month and a half later, the situation has not improved. Mr. De Souza asked the plant management to “redouble pressure on the Government of Canada to permanently protect the lands north of the Montreal airport, in cooperation with the City of Montreal, Saint-Laurent and the City of Dorval”.

In Valérie Plante’s office, it is noted that “the field of monarchs is very important for biodiversity”. “We expect all residents of that sector to take concrete action to ensure its protection,” said press secretary Alicia Dufour, recalling that Montreal had already secured land it owns on the south side of Technopark in February. However, the city wants to “discuss” with the opposition “to define the best means of achieving our objectives”.

“Monarch butterfly populations have declined by 90% in the last two decades. If we want to ensure its survival, we must act now or never,” opposition councilor Stephanie Valenzuela, an environmental critic, said Thursday.

His party will be presented at the next city council on August 22, which will force the city to take more aggressive steps with the federal government. The opposition also recommends encouraging municipal services to plant more milkweed, and encouraging cities to “provide free milkweed seeds.”