Excerpts of Federal Leader’s Replies To VICCS ‘Five-Point Conservation Plan for Canada’
VICCS asked five questions of the Federal Party Leaders to encourage interest and support for conservation initiatives in Canada. Media Releases and website postings of the Leader’s replies are being circulated, to encourage Canadians to consider conservation issues when they vote in the upcoming October 19th elections. We invite one and all to forward these materials, and to ask questions of their local candidates and the Party’s they represent.
All materials are available on request, or on the VICCS website. For more information, a copy of letters sent to the Federal Party Leaders, or to inquire on related matters, please contact:
Vancouver Island & Coast Conservation Society, Box 333, Cedar BC, V9X 1W1; <www.viccs.vcn.bc.ca>
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Replies Were Received From…
– Elizabeth May, MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands
Leader of the Green Party of Canada
– Tom Mulcair, MP, Outremont
Leader of the Official Opposition
New Democratic Party of Canada
– Justin P.J. Trudeau, MP, Papineau
Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
The Bloc Quebecois politely deferred (see pg 7*). Despite repeated requests to Prime Minister Harper,
we unfortunately did not receive a reply from the Conservative Party Leader.
VICCS Five Conservation Questions
Background and rationale pertaining to each conservation question were included in each of the five letters that VICCS sent to the Federal Party Leaders over the final weeks of Parliament. We invited the Leaders to specifically reply to each question, to express preferences, and to say why their priorities were important to conservation and the public interest.
And we added, “With a federal election only three months away we know Canadians will appreciate hearing your thoughts and plans.”
The Questions we asked:
“Should you be given the mandate to govern the country in the October 19th elections…”
1) …with the exemplary work of Canada’s Commission of Conservation in mind
(of ~1915) …would you promise to reinstate such a Commission by 2017? (- May26’15)
2) …would you promise to proclaim December 11th ‘A Day For Our Common Future’, and work for the goals of sustainable development as outlined by the Brundtland Commission? (June1’15)
3) …would you promise to engage the various sectors, levels of government, and the public in a Canada-wide Conference on Conservation & Development in 2017? (- June9’15)
4) …would (you) promise to seek out new opportunities and measures that would see some 20% of our land base, coastal and freshwaters, designated as protected areas within the next four year election cycle …going beyond Canada’s immediate global responsibilities while fostering local and national initiatives that assure our country’s long-term prosperity? (June17’15)
5) …would you promise to commit additional and substantial financial resources and government assistance so as to engage Canadians in local conservation and sustainable community development initiatives? (- June24’15)
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Excerpts of Leader’s Replies To VICCS Five-Point Conservation Plan for Canada
Question #1) …with the exemplary work of Canada’s Commission of Conservation in mind
(of ~1915) …would you promise to reinstate such a Commission by 2017?
“A new Commission empowered with a mandate to examine the state of Canadian Conservation is a welcome notion. In fact, the Green Party advocates for a comprehensive new approach towards how we tackle complex, inter-jurisdictional policy issues like conservation.
Establishing a Council of Canadian Governments to promote a more collegial and collaborative federalism acknowledges the 21st-century reality that most issues of concern to Canadians inevitably involve more than one level of government. A Council of Canadian Governments, chaired by the Prime Minister, would include provincial Premiers, territorial leaders, representatives of the municipal order of government, and representatives of First Nations, Métis and Inuit leadership.
Policy coherence across all levels of governmental jurisdiction would ensure that all tax dollars – municipal, provincial, or federal – work together for shared goals, whether to address prosperity and innovation, health, poverty or, in this case, climate change and conservation. The Council would provide the opportunity for our political leaders to dispense with the partisan rhetoric and cooperate seriously with their counterparts for the benefit of all Canadians.
The policies of a Council of Canadian Governments, or Commission of Conservation, would only be limited by the strength of available scientific evidence. If Canada is to meet the growing challenges of environmental stewardship, it is critical to restore and expand our scientific capacity and support our scientists. Science and scientific research should not be influenced by partisan considerations, nor should it be subject to across-the-board austerity measures.”
“The approach to conservation must include the provinces, territories and other levels of government, First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, civil society groups, scientists, and concerned Canadians. Expert advice to assess and advise on conservation is not only a good idea, it is necessary to ensure our long-term viability.”
“Liberals are serious about engaging in an open and innovative partnership with the provinces and territories, as we work together to fulfill our environmental responsibilities. The Liberal Party has a sweeping agenda to deliver real change. We will tap into the economic opportunities of our environment and create the sustainable prosperity middle class families deserve.” (*adjunct letter to J. Trudeau’s reply, provided by Mark Calderaro, Liberal Party of Canada)
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Question #2) …would you promise to proclaim December 11th ‘A Day For Our Common Future’, and work for the goals of sustainable development as outlined by the Brundtland Commission?
“The release of the Brundtland Commission’s report, Our Common Future, in 1987 is an historic occasion worth celebrating. It marks a unique moment when Canada was a key player in negotiating effective international environmental agreements that actually worked.”
“The Green Party supports the creation of ‘A Day For Our Common Future’ to promote and celebrate the goals of sustainable development.”
“…as Minister of the Environment in Quebec, I was responsible for enacting the first Sustainable Development Act. Declaring December 11th ‘A Day for Our Common Future’ and work to enshrine the principles of sustainable development as outlined by the Brundtland Commission in Canada are worthy ideas.”
“Liberals understand that climate change and creating a more sustainable future are among the most pressing challenges we face as Canadians. Action against climate change is a key inter-generational responsibility that we owe to our children and grandchildren.” (*adjunct letter to J. Trudeau’s reply, provided by Mark Calderaro, Liberal Party of Canada)
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Question #3) …would you promise to engage the various sectors, levels of government, and the public in a Canada-wide Conference on Conservation & Development in 2017?
“While we acknowledge the symbolic importance of holding a Conference on Conservation and Development in 2017, upon the occasion of our 150-year anniversary, the Green Party believes that we must act sooner to tackle the important issues facing Canadian environmental policy.”
“Pending the establishment of a Council of Canadian Governments, the federal government should convene a First Ministers Conference as soon as possible after election in October to prepare credible Canadian proposals to take to the international climate negotiations in December.”
“While the Green Party would be committed to holding a Canada-wide Conference on Conservation and Development in 2017 we believe that we must act now to address the issues that have long been neglected…”
“Canada’s 150th birthday is a timely anniversary to take stock of Canada’s environment, and to set goals for our next 150 years.”
“As you point out, 2017 will mark the 150th Anniversary of Confederation, and in order to recognize this historic milestone, a Liberal Government will promote our National Parks by suspending admission fees for the year. Similarly, we will work towards preserving our National Parks by restricting development inside the park, and where possible, working with gateway communities outside the parks to grow their eco-tourism industries and create jobs.”
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Question #4) …would (you) promise to seek out new opportunities and measures that would see some 20% of our land base, coastal and freshwaters, designated as protected areas within the next four year election cycle …going beyond Canada’s immediate global responsibilities while fostering local and national initiatives that assure our country’s long-term prosperity?
“We will act swiftly to protect existing parks and expand our terrestrial and marine park systems. We must also extend, in partnership with provinces, territories, and Aboriginal peoples, Canada’s network of land, freshwater, and marine protected areas and establish compatible-use buffer zones around national parks for the maintenance of natural biological diversity and ecosystem health.
Green Party conservation goals include:
● Meeting our international biodiversity commitments, including protecting 17% of our land and inland waters and 10% of our coastal areas by 2020;
● Completing our National Parks and Marine Protected Areas Systems by 2030;
● Supporting the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework to protect at least half of Canada’s boreal forest; …”
“An NDP government would respect our commitments, restore our scientific capacity, and put the resources in place to make Canada an international leader, rather than a laggard, on biodiversity, conservation, and protected areas.”
“…a Liberal Government will also meet our international conservation targets for our freshwater and oceans, as protected marine areas are critical to protecting Canadian ecosystems, as well as our overall economic well-being … I am committed to protecting Canada’s marine and coastal areas from 1.3 percent to 5 percent by 2017, and ten percent by 2020.”
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Question #5) …would you promise to commit additional and substantial financial resources and government assistance so as to engage Canadians in local conservation and sustainable community development initiatives?
”The Green Party undertakes a commitment to fund the following six areas immediately to a total of $3 billion ($500 million per fund per year):
● community brownfield remediation;
● water and wastewater treatment facilities;
● sports, recreational and cultural facilities;
● public transit;
● cycling and pedestrian promotion;
● community housing.
By investing in sustainable community development initiatives, we foster real change at the local level that reflects the passion for conservation that all Canadians share.”
“As previously mentioned, consultation is essential for informed public decision making, and is necessary for gaining social license.”
“In order to restore credibility to environmental assessments, a Liberal Government will offer a new, comprehensive, and fair process that:
● Restores robust oversight and thorough environmental assessments of areas under federal jurisdiction, while working collaboratively with First Nations communities and provincial and territorial governments.
● Ensures decisions are based on science, facts, and evidence, and serve the public’s interest.
● Provides ways for interested Canadians to express their views, and for experts to meaningfully participate in assessment processes.
● Requires project to include the best technologies available to reduce environmental impacts.”
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General ‘Excerpts’ of Note re. Conservation Goals:
“Your five-point plan would help to restore the Canadian commitment to an ethic of conservation and sustainability to protect our lands, waters, and natural resources.”
“The Green Party supports your call to raise awareness among the Canadian public and engage with all levels of government to promote conservation goals and extend them beyond our international commitments.”
“Protection, preservation, and the restoration of our environment are essential to the biodiversity of our planet, and to the health and economy of this, and future, generations.”
“In this Parliament, the NDP brought forward legislation, Bill C-481, to integrate sustainable development into the public policy decision-making process”
“A balanced approach that seeks to protect our environment while getting our resources to market and growing our economy is a goal that I, and the entire Liberal Caucus, greatly share.”
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