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Federal budget a step forward for nature conservation: CPAWS

  • Published on Mar 22 2007 |
  • This article is tagged as: boreal-forest

CPAWS, Canada’s only national organization dedicated solely to the protection of public wilderness and natural parks, welcomes recent statements by the Prime Minister and other members of his cabinet that protecting Canada’s natural heritage is an important public duty. We view this week’s federal budget commitments for new protected land and marine areas as a positive step towards establishing a long term federal vision and funding commitment for large-scale wilderness conservation.  

CPAWS has urged adoption of a new federal nature conservation action plan that would place Canada at the forefront in protecting intact wilderness – and form a critical part of our country’s response to climate change. 

The 2007 federal budget provides two year funding commitments for several of the conservation priorities CPAWS has identified for federal action, including $10M over two years to establish protected areas in the Northwest Territories; $19M over two years for oceans management; and $110M over two years to implement the Species at Risk Act. 

“We’re pleased that there is some funding in the budget to advance protection of public wilderness lands and waters. Now the federal government needs to develop a long term wilderness conservation program and provide substantial long term funding to implement it,” said Anne Levesque, National Executive Director.  “For Canada to become a world leader in nature conservation we need to protect much greater swathes of our remaining wilderness than we’ve ever done before. It’s going to take a will to act and funding on a larger scale and over a longer time frame.”  

The $10 million over two years announced for NWT protected areas will support important progress on conserving boreal forest in the Northwest Territories, including the protection of sites such as Sahoyúé ehdacho National Historic Site on Great Bear Lake (for which the federal government announced long term funding on March 11), the Nahanni National Park expansion, the Ramparts wetlands (Ts’ude niline Tu’eyeta), the Horn Plateau (Edéhzhie), and a proposed national park on the East Arm of Great Slave Lake.  CPAWS will be looking for continued progress on protected areas and land use planning in the NWT in the coming weeks and months as well as confirmation of long-term funding to support conservation in the long run. 

For marine conservation, the commitment to establish nine new marine protected areas is a step forward, but the $19 million committed over two years is not nearly enough to achieve this commitment, let alone the overall sustainable development, management, and protection of ocean resources outlined in the budget document. 

“This funding is just a drop in the ocean compared to what’s required. To tackle the ecological crisis facing our oceans requires a large scale, long term vision and funding commitment by the federal government.  We recommended that the federal government invest $600 million over five years to achieve this goal.  We will continue to work to get this level of commitment,” said Sabine Jessen, National Manager, CPAWS Oceans and Great Lakes program.  

The $110 million over two years for implementing the Species at Risk Act is a positive step towards effectively protecting species at risk in Canada. CPAWS recommends that this funding focus on developing and implementing effective recovery strategies that identify critical habitat. 

While CPAWS focuses on public land conservation, we also acknowledge the important contribution that the $225 million federal budget investment in private land conservation will make to protecting species at risk and restoring ecological connections between protected areas in southern Canada. 

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For more information:

Ellen Adelberg

Director of Communications

(613) 569-7226 ext 234 

View CPAWS’ recommendations for a Federal Nature Conservation Action Plan at

www.cpaws.org