Our Five Requests to Canada’s Federal Party Leaders
…in support of a ‘Five-Point Conservation Plan For Canada’.
Each letter asked one question, providing a short background on the subject and inquiring whether there was support by the Leader and their Party. The Letters began on May 26/15, and were sent each week, with the last letter sent on June 24th just before Parliament recessed. Leaders were requested to respond by early July.
VICCS expects to follow-up with each Leader, on each Conservation question, once the federal election is decided in the fall. We’d be pleased to work in partnership with other Canadians and organizations.
We have listed our five questions immediately below, with the full text of each letter following. The letters, and the Leader’s replies, are also available by e-mail – on request. We have posted them here in chronological order, as text and in a jpg format.
For more information, a copy of letters to the Federal Party Leaders, or to inquire on related matters, please contact:
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VICCS ‘Five-Point’ Conservation Questions:
1) …with the exemplary work of Canada’s Commission of Conservation in mind (~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)
A Copy of Each Letter to Canada’s Federal Party Leaders…
Re: A Conservation Request to Canada’s Federal Party Leaders
May 26, 2015
Twenty-nine years ago today the Honourable Tom MacMillan, Federal Minister of the Environment, opened the fifth meeting of the World Commission on Environment and Development in Ottawa. The Minister noted the reputation of Canadians as pioneers in addressing environmental interdependence and inter-country co-operation, and also observed that ‘the environment won’t recover if just left alone.’
Mr. MacMillan’s recommendations included the proposal that a process be in place to share information on environmental policies, a multi-disciplinary approach that would transcend nation-state thinking – anticipating and preventing problems.
We are writing to you now, as Leaders of Federal Parties, to request your support for a ‘Five Point Conservation Plan for Canada’, one that reflects the Government of Canada’s long-held ambitions for sustainable development.
With Canadian energy companies now looking for climate plans to take shape, and a growing wish by Canadians to see a balanced approach which benefits the economy and the environment, we are seeking your consideration and reply to five steps that will foster the Conserver Society which Mr. MacMillan proposed to the WCED.
The first step that we believe would benefit our country and all Canadians would be to integrate the fundamental approach which guided Canada’s Commission of Conservation one hundred years ago, that “Each generation is entitled to the interest on the natural capital, but the principal should be handed on unimpaired.”
With the exemplary work of Canada’s Commission of Conservation in mind we would ask if your Party, given the mandate to govern the country in the October 19th elections, would promise to reinstate such a Commission by 2017?
Over the next month we will again write on a weekly basis, seeking your reply and support for one of our ‘Five Conservation Points’. We hope to hear back by early July, and sooner if possible.
Of course, along with these requests to you as Party Leaders we also wish to encourage public discussion and support for such conservation efforts. We hope you will then see our concurrent news release on these matters as a positive and helpful effort in seeking solutions to Canada’s economic and environmental challenges.
Our best wishes and sincere thanks for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.
c.c.- Mario Beaulieu, Bloc Quebecois, via on-line form
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Re: Our Second Conservation Request to Canada’s Federal Party Leaders
June 1, 2015
Today, as Canadian Environment Week begins, we are making our second request to you as Federal Party Leaders. If you’ll recall our first ‘ask’ was sent last week, as part of a ‘Five Point Conservation Plan for Canada’ that we believe to be in the best interest of Canadians and our country (letter, copied below).
With the G7 meeting in a week, and the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris expected to prompt major discussions, we will be writing to local governments across the country – requesting that they proclaim December 11th ‘A Day For Our Common Future’.
December 11th is the last day of the Paris Conference this year, and also the anniversary of ‘Our Common Future’ being received by the United Nations in 1987. This report, prepared by the World Commission on Environment and Development, prompted nations around the world to begin working together for sustainable development.
Renewing our commitment to sustainable development would be a considerable step forward in addressing climate change, as well as finding solutions for economic and environmental challenges our nation and the world will face in the years ahead.
In 2014 the Province of British Columbia and 15 BC cities signed the Proclamation*, which translates to support from elected representatives and governments representing approximately 4,658,000 BC residents, 13% of Canada’s population. As we see it the Proclamation offers an exceptional opportunity to further efforts in addressing climate change, as well as increasing involvement in public initiatives as we approach Canada’s 150th anniversary, and the 30th anniversary of ‘Our Common Future’ in 2017.
In 2017 we expect all Canadians will be looking to our country’s common heritage, and our common future, and what we can achieve by working together.
Our second request of you and your Party is then, if given the mandate to govern the country in the October 19th elections, 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 text of the Proclamation can be found on our website, and we welcome any questions you might have. (*http://viccs.vcn.bc.ca/our-goals/a-day-for-our-common-future/proclamation-a-day-for-our-common-future/)
Our sincere thanks for your consideration …and may we take this opportunity to wish you the very best of Canada’s Environment Week.
c.c.- Mario Beaulieu, Bloc Quebecois, via on-line form.
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Re: Our Third Conservation Request to Canada’s Federal Party Leaders
Dear Honourable Members,
The G7 ended with a promise that Canada would change, gradually leaving carbon-based plans to fuel our economy for innovative approaches that leave the world a better place. Now we need a new plan.
As Federal Party Leaders we would hope that you might consider guiding Canada towards a Conserver Society approach, finding a balance between economic and environmental needs.
With Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017 we would like to see a plan being developed with all sectors and interests of the country involved. Canada’s future growth and prosperity is part of a bigger picture, tied to an interdependent world. In the years to come Canadian ingenuity and resources could make a big difference.
We have a third request then, as part of the ‘Five Point Conservation Plan for Canada’ we have been requesting of you on a weekly basis since May 26th – the anniversary of the 1986 Ottawa meeting of the World Commission on Environment and Development.
Our third request of you and your Party, should you be given the mandate to govern the country in the October 19th elections …would you promise to engage the various sectors, levels of government, and the public in a Canada-wide Conference on Conservation and Development in 2017?
With Canada’s future in mind, and our world clearly in need of solutions, we believe all Canadians would welcome the opportunity to address the challenges we face as a nation, and to serve their country by working together to restore a healthy balance and promising future.
We look forward to hearing from you and welcome any questions you might have.
c.c.- Mario Beaulieu, Bloc Quebecois, via on-line form.
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Re: A Fourth Conservation Request to Canada’s Federal Party Leaders
June 17, 2015
This is our fourth of five Conservation Requests. We are seeking your support and response with the fall federal election in mind, and have copied our initial letter of May 26th below.
With a global report released by NASA yesterday, warning that unlimited access has put us on the path towards a global drought – as one-third of the world’s groundwater supplies are being depleted beyond their recharge capabilities, we would like to recommend the need for Canada to develop a freshwater and land use plan.
The announcement of a National Conservation Plan by Prime Minister Harper, a little over a year ago, offers direction. It has however become increasingly clear, in light of recent G7 concerns regarding climate change as well as other reports such as those from NASA, that definitive plans need to be in place if sustainability and the needs of society are to be met in a timely manner.
Integrating the 2013 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy for Canada with the 2014 National Conservation Plan would help facilitate a transition to renewable energy and appropriate resource use as fossil-fuel reduction initiatives are phased in. Protection of essential ecological systems, habitat and biodiversity would also need to be assured.
Environment Canada reports that “As of the end of 2013, 10.4% (1 036 645 km2) of Canada’s terrestrial area (land and freshwater), and about 0.9% (51 485 km2) of its marine territory have been recognized as protected.” We’re also informed that, having signed the Convention on Biological Diversity in October 2010 we are committed to set aside, by 2020 “at least 17% of terrestrial areas (including freshwaters) and at least 10% of marine areas.”
As Canada protects areas with recognized natural, ecological and cultural values we can also be assured that we are investing in local livelihoods as well as our national economy. Generating tourism revenues, and replenishing fisheries, while assisting in mitigation efforts and adaptation to climate change, are just a few of the immediate and very visible benefits.
With such assets and returns to be had Canada, one of the largest countries in the world with a relatively small population, has both the means and we would suggest the moral responsibility to be leaders in conservation and sustainability efforts that contribute to our nation and the world’s betterment.
Canada is in a unique position. We can, if we choose, set new standards to reduce stress on our climate, water and resources. We can help guide other countries in contributing to conservation and sustainable land use plans and development. We can set goals that will serve many generations to come. But first we need to reaffirm our commitment to sustainable development and conservation strategies.
We would then ask if your Party, given the mandate to govern the country in the October 19th elections, would 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?
Your consideration and support will see Canada in the forefront of initiatives to restore essential ecological systems in our country, while laying a global foundation for sustainable development.
We look forward to hearing from you, and invite you to be in touch if you have questions or wish additional information.
c.c.- Mario Beaulieu & Gilles Duceppe, Bloc Quebecois, via on-line form.
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Re: Our Fifth Conservation Request to Canada’s Federal Party Leaders
June 24, 2015
Last fall a Harvard article summed up the presentation by vice-president Joseph Biden with the headline ‘All politics are personal’ 1. A more recent and growing consensus, expressed by the G7 and reinforced by Pope Francis, has reminded us all of our responsibilities – calling for personal efforts to resolve global and political challenges.
World leaders are reaching out, asking each of us to help resolve the global problems facing our nations.
With this person politique in mind we are sending our last conservation request to you, along with the suggestion that Canadians are ready and able to take on a conservation challenge. Especially one that would directly benefit their communities while contributing to national and global sustainability targets.
Similar calls for personal commitments were heard in Ottawa in 1986, during the World Commission on Environment and Development hearings. The result was the re-interpretation of national and global plans for sustainable development, scaled-down to a community level.
The Brundtland Commission liked the Canadian recommendations for individual involvement and incremental solutions to the world’s problems – and a sustainable community development approach was born. The promise and goal of sustainable community development continues to enable billions of people from all walks of life to work for economic and environmental renewal, offering tangible, cost-effective and achievable benefits.
Our fifth request of you and your Party then, should you be given the mandate to govern the country in the October 19th elections …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?
Given the tools, and support of our political leaders, we firmly believe that individuals will rise to the challenge – that all across our great country Canadians will take personal responsibility, and give of themselves in order to further practical solutions for our common future.
As a world leader, upon your election and in light of the challenges we see ahead, we are similarly asking you to place conservation and sustainability at the top of your personal and political priorities. Local and global solutions will be found by Canadians working together for sustainable community development.
With the recent recess of Parliament we are also hoping it will be possible to hear back from you with respect to our ‘Five Point Conservation Plan for Canada’, by early July. Fyi, we have attached a summary of our requests, along with copies of the letters sent this past month.
And with a full-on Canadian summer just beginning, please allow us to wish you the very best in the months to come.
c.c.- Mario Beaulieu, Gilles Duceppe, Bloc Quebecois, via on-line form.
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