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CPAWS Reacts to Alberta Budget 2016

18 Apr 2016

Budget 2016 a step in the right direction if nature comes first: CPAWS holds first Annual Lobby Day following the release of the provincial budget

EDMONTON – The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) Southern and Northern Alberta chapters are coming together in Edmonton today to meet with MLAs and Minister of Environment and Parks Shannon Phillips to discuss the government's commitment to environmental initiatives announced in last Thursday's budget. On the agenda: increasing Alberta’s parks and protected areas network and managing land-use across the province.

CPAWS applauds the announcement in the budget that Alberta seeks to be a leader in environmental conservation and their commitment to increasing Alberta’s parks and protected areas in accordance with Canada's international commitments. New parks and protected areas, however, must be developed meaningfully – to prioritize nature and ecological values, represent the diversity of landscapes in Alberta, and conserve biodiversity across the province.

“Parks and protected areas can play a key role in addressing many of the environmental problems facing Alberta – from safeguarding our declining caribou herds to mitigating against the impacts of climate change,” said Alison Ronson, executive director of the Northern Alberta chapter of CPAWS.

“CPAWS looks forward to working with this government to ensure that the promises made in this budget to create more protected areas are fulfilled with science and conservation first.”

CPAWS is encouraged to see the government continue their commitment to land-use planning and valuing nature as a part of Albertans’ social well-being. Anne-Marie Syslak, executive director of CPAWS Southern Alberta, states, “CPAWS’ recent provincial survey shows that three quarters of Albertans are out enjoying nature and recreating on the landscape. It is important to ensure that our natural heritage is protected above all else when planning for nature-based tourism.”

Today's Lobby Day is an opportunity for MLAs to meet with volunteer board members and staff of both CPAWS chapters, and for CPAWS to share with MLAs the vision that CPAWS' members have for the province. CPAWS will be introduced in the legislature at 1:00pm and hopes to make this an annual event in Alberta.

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For more information, please contact
Alison Ronson | Executive Director, CPAWS Northern Alberta
780-221-5041
aronson [at] cpaws [dot] org

Anne-Marie Syslak | Executive Director, CPAWS Southern Alberta
403-827-4562
amsyslak [at] cpaws [dot] org

Backgrounder

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is Canada’s only nationwide charity dedicated solely to the protection of our public land and water and ensuring our parks are managed to protect the nature within them. Over the last 50+ years, CPAWS has played a lead role in protecting over half a million square kilometres
– an area bigger than the entire Yukon Territory. Our vision is to protect at least half of our public land and water so that future generations can experience Canada’s irreplaceable wilderness.

CPAWS has chapters in almost every province and territory across Canada, and two chapters here in Alberta – a Southern Alberta chapter located in Calgary and a Northern Alberta chapter located in Edmonton. As a collaborative organization, CPAWS works closely with government of all levels, industry representatives, and communities to manage our impact on a shared landscape. We also advocate for the creation of parks and protected areas for the benefit of both current and future generations of Canadians.

CPAWS' Mission

CPAWS envisages a healthy ecosphere where people experience and respect natural ecosystems. We will achieve this by:

  • protecting Canada's wild ecosystems in parks, wilderness and similar natural areas, preserving the full diversity of habitats and their species;
  • promoting awareness and understanding of ecological principles and the inherent values of wilderness through education, appreciation and experience; and
  • encouraging individual action to accomplish these goals; working co-operatively with government, First Nations, business, other organizations and individuals in a consensus-seeking manner, wherever possible.

CPAWS' Vision

Canada, home to one-quarter of the world's remaining wilderness forests, stands out as a beacon of hope for conservation in a time of enormous change. The next 10 years are a critical time for us to act, before industrial development forecloses the chance to protect some of the last great forests and fresh water and marine ecosystems on earth. We have the amazing opportunity to protect at least 50% or more of our remaining wilderness, including our Boreal Forest region.

CPAWS' vision is that Canada will lead by example through conserving large landscapes and waterscapes within our own borders and oceans. Our vision is that Canada will maintain pristine lakes, vast caribou herds and abundant wild salmon; that we will share the land with magnificent predators such as grizzly bears and wolves; that we will nourish the land ethic of Canadian cultures; and that we will continue to enjoy the beauty of nearby natural landscapes in our daily lives.

Posted April 19, 2016 by AEN

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