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CPAWS laments lack of funds for wilderness protection in Federal budget

  • Published on Feb 03 2009 |
  • This article is tagged as: big wild

Ottawa – The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is disappointed that last week’s federal budget lacked any new spending for conserving biodiversity or creating new protected wilderness areas.

CPAWS, along with other members of the Green Budget Coalition (GBC), had recommended a federal investment of $174 million over the next three years to protect more of Canada’s wilderness from increasing industrial threats and the added threat that climate change poses to Canada’s ecosystems. CPAWS and other GBC members recommended that these funds be invested in new national parks, national wildlife areas, migratory bird sanctuaries and marine protected areas.

Canada has an international commitment to complete a system of protected areas on land by 2010 and a system of marine protected areas by 2012. But to date less than 10% of our lands and less than 1% of our waters are protected from industrial development.

“We don’t believe that the federal government should be making choices between investing in the environment and the economy.  Canada needs to protect its natural capital if we’re going to succeed in the long run, especially in tomorrow’s green economy,” says Ellen Adelberg, CPAWS Acting National Executive Director.

The ‘natural capital’ represented by Canada’s wilderness is worth billions of dollars, often more than the value extracted by industrial development. CPAWS notes that the federal budget did include $75 million to improve infrastructure in national parks and an additional $130 million to twin the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park.

“We’re also concerned that in the budget, the Government committed to amending the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the Environmental Assessment Act.  We’ll be watching closely to make sure that these changes don’t erode important protection measures and allow harmful projects to ecosystems to go forward.” 

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Contact: Ellen Adelberg (613) 569-7226 x 234