(Clockwise from top left) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Liberal Party of Canada; Leader of the Official Opposition Andrew Scheer, Conservative Party of Canada; Leader Jagmeet Singh, New Democratic Party of Canada; Leader Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada
Question 8: Do you and your party commit to supporting the ongoing efforts of anglers and hunters to conserve Canada’s wildlife and wild places?
TRUDEAU: Of course, we welcome everyone who wants to have a role in safeguarding our environment. Our government is committed to working with all partners, including hunters and anglers, as well as provinces and territories, to conserve and protect wild fish stocks, wildlife and their habitats.
Our government’s historic $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan—the largest investment the Government of Canada has ever made to protect our coasts and waterways—includes a Coastal Restoration Fund, which supports local projects that help to restore coastal aquatic habitats. Also, with the Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk, which is a part of our Nature Legacy initiative, we are protecting freshwater priority places and aquatic species at risk across the country.
SCHEER: Absolutely. Hunters and anglers are unsurpassed in their knowledge of the natural world and do some of the best work to protect our environment and keep our water, land and air clean. We absolutely must support the good work that they do and not put needless regulatory barriers in the way.
SINGH: Canada has been blessed with a beautiful natural environment, the world’s longest coastline and one fifth of the world’s total freshwater resources. Making sure that these precious resources are protected is essential to making real progress on our climate change goals, and to safeguarding a good quality of life for all Canadians. We can advance the climate effort through nature-based solutions—including both terrestrial and marine measures—and can be ambassadors for their inclusion in climate action and diplomacy globally.
New Democrats will always work with organizations and people who want to conserve and protect Canada’s wildlife and wild places. As a first step, it’s time to enshrine in law the right to a healthy environment. Our federal Environmental Bill of Rights will ensure that all communities can enjoy a guarantee to clean water, land and air, and it will set the stage for the adoption of serious measures to curb climate pollution.
To reduce waste in our landfills and communities, a New Democrat government will ban single-use plastics across Canada by 2022, and develop strong, enforceable extended producer responsibility legislation that holds companies responsible for the entire lifecycle of their plastics products and packaging. We will tackle our existing plastic pollution by working with provinces and territories, municipalities and Indigenous governments to capture and recycle the single-use plastics already in our communities.
Conservation is a vital way to protect ecosystems and preserve biodiversity. We’re committed to protecting at least 30 per cent of our land, freshwater and oceans by 2030, and to backing those protections with funding and enforcement in order to achieve this goal. We’ll also work with other levels of government to develop a system of urban national parks to advance our conservation goals while connecting more Canadians to our natural heritage. And we will work with the provinces to develop a national approach to tree-planting, using responsible reforestation to help lower our carbon footprint.
In keeping with our commitment to reconciliation, these conservation goals will be advanced in full partnership with Indigenous peoples and with respect for Indigenous sovereignty. It’s time to grow the Indigenous Guardians Program, invest in Indigenous-led science, support the creation of Indigenous-managed protected areas, and make sure that species recovery efforts uphold Indigenous rights and embrace traditional knowledge to increase biodiversity.
Recognizing that protecting our oceans is an important part of fighting climate change, a New Democrat government will work to reduce emissions from shipping and fishing, prevent ocean acidification and reverse the loss of coastal blue carbon ecosystems, such as salt marshes. We’ll also protect ocean biodiversity by expanding well-enforced Marine Protected Areas.
Canada’s freshwater resources are critical for the health and well-being of our ecosystems, our communities and our local economies. A New Democrat government will implement a national freshwater strategy and work with the provinces and territories to protect our waterways, including the Saint Lawrence, under international agreements. We will also reverse the harmful changes brought in by the Conservatives and fully restore navigable waters protections for all of Canada’s lakes and rivers, and invest in research to support freshwater protections.
The way we produce and use food also has an impact on our climate future—and on nutrition for all Canadians. We’ll work to connect communities to farmers through local food hubs, and develop a national food waste strategy to reduce the huge amounts of food that currently go to waste in Canada.
MAY: Absolutely. Anglers and hunters play a critical role in wildlife conservation. We would restore the federal roundtable for wildlife conservation, engaging national organizations of anglers and hunters.