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Important issues on environment cannot be ignored

  • Published on Sep 25 2008 |
  • This article is tagged as: big wild

CPAWS urges voters to put tough questions to candidates

Ottawa - As important as the economy, healthcare, and funding for the arts are for the well-being of Canada, Canadians also care deeply about wilderness conservation and a healthy environment.  

But for most of this election campaign, discussions about conservation, the Boreal forest, and species protection have been pushed to the back burner.

To raise the level of dialogue about wilderness conservation on the campaign trail, CPAWS has issued a 2008 Election Primer that suggests key questions voters can ask when candidates come knocking at their doors.

Ellen Adelberg, spokesperson for CPAWS, says her organization believes the next federal government\'s position on conservation will have global consequences.

"Canada is home to 20% of the world\'s remaining wilderness," she explains. "It is critical for the sake of the entire world that Canada\'s parliament takes strong measures to protect these areas from the growing pressures of development and industrialization."

Election Primer helps voters determine candidates\' views

The Primer suggests that voters ask candidates, “Do you support the vision that at least half of Canada\'s public land and water should be protected?” Protecting at least half of public land and water is a major goal of CPAWS, based on increasing evidence that large-scale protection is the only way to ensure the survival of intact ecosystems.

Less than 10% of Canada\'s land and less than 1% of our waters have been protected to date. 

Of major concern is the slow rate of creating national parks and marine protected areas. CPAWS suggests that voters ask candidates, "Will you make it a priority to establish new parks and create a network of marine protected areas?"

"The next government will face serious questions about industrial development in the North, risks to species, and how to fairly work with First Nations to protect our land and waters," says Alison Woodley, Manager of CPAWS National Protected Areas Program. "It makes sense to clarify issues and positions now."

Conservation is not an issue that belongs to a single political party

Every party needs to consider itself part of the wilderness conservation movement, continues Woodley. 

"CPAWS has worked productively with governments of various political stripes." 

CPAWS has posted the 2008 Election Primer on its Web site. Also, it has distributed the Primer to political parties and is awaiting their feedback.  

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View CPAWS\' 2008 Election Primer, at www.cpaws.org 

For interviews, contact:
Ellen Adelberg, CPAWS Communications Director, (613) 569-7226 ext. 234