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Articles by Alison Woodley

Alison is CPAWS' National Director, Parks Program. She has more than two decades of experience in the conservation field, including eight years as CPAWS’ National Manager of the Protected Areas Program, and Northern Conservation Specialist. She coordinated CPAWS’ nation-wide campaign to protect the South Nahanni Watershed, and contributed to many other national park and northern campaigns.

Alison holds a BSc in Forestry from the University of New Brunswick, and a Masters in Geography from the University of Waterloo, specializing in parks and protected areas and community-based tourism planning. Alison is also an active volunteer with the local environmental group, ACRE, in her home community of Chelsea, QC where she lives with her husband and two teenage daughters.

Budget 2014: A missed opportunity for Canada’s parks

You may have heard on the news that the federal budget included significant resources for our national parks and historic canals.  However as always, the devil is in the details on budget day.  While there is indeed a commitment to invest $391 million dollars over five years for the Parks Canada Agency to “protect and preserve Canada’s rich natural heritage by making improvements to Canada’s national parks”, these “improvements” are focused on repairing roads, bridges and dams located in national parks or historic canals, not on nature conservation. And according to the detailed tables in the budget, there’s only $1 million allocated for 2014-15, and $4 million for 2015-16, with the rest to be allocated in 2016 and beyond.

How do we “green” the 2014 federal budget?

As the first major snowstorm of the season bears down on Ottawa this evening, I’m wondering what travel challenges tomorrow morning will bring. I have to make my way to Parliament Hill first thing in the morning for a series of meetings with colleagues from fourteen of Canada’s leading environmental and conservation organizations who are members of the Green Budget Coalition. Over the next two days we’ll meet with federal Ministers, officials in the Prime Minister’s office, the Privy Council Office, Finance Ministry, as well as MPs from all parties to deliver our recommendations for “greening” next year’s federal budget.

This year, the Coalition’s main “nature recommendation” focuses on developing a National Conservation Plan for Canada. This has been a longstanding commitment of this government that has yet to be delivered. In our meetings we’ll be urging the feds to create a plan that recognizes Canada’s unique and globally significant opportunity to conserve nature. That they lead an effort to scale up our conservation work across the country, to tackle the on-going decline in the health of all of Canada’s major ecosystems in more ambitious and science-based way.

Off to the Hill…again!

I’m off to “the Hill” again today, just a few short weeks after CPAWS’ team from across the country met with over 50 MPs and Senators during our annual “Parliamentary Lobby Day” This time I’m joining colleagues from other national environmental and conservation groups as part of a Green Budget Coalition delegation. Over the next two days, we’ll meet with the Department of Finance, the Prime Minister’s office and the Privy Council Office, as well as with MPs and Ministers to deliver our recommendations for next year’s federal budget.

“Unimpaired for Future Generations”?

Do recent decisions to allow new commercial tourism developments in our parks signal a new assault on their sanctity?

Celebrate Canada’s Parks System on July 16th, 2011

Saturday, July 16th is Canada’s Parks Day: a day to get out and celebrate our spectacular parks system. Whether you go camping in one of our national or provincial parks for the weekend, or take a walk in the woods in an urban nature park, it’s a great day to enjoy and to reflect on how important these special protected natural spaces are to us as individual Canadians and to our country.

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