Canada’s National Conservation “Plan”?

Today the federal government announced a commitment of $252,000,000.00 ($252 million) over the next five years for various conservation initiatives that can be broadly divided into three priorities:

– conserving Canada’s lands and waters;

– restoring Canada’s ecosystems; and

– connecting Canadians to nature.

The commitment is broken down as follows:

– $100 million for the Nature Conservancy of Canada to protect sensitive lands over five years.

– $37 million for marine and coastal conservation over five years.

– $3.2 million to assist a national inventory of conserved areas in Canada over five years.

– $50 million to restore wetlands over five years.

– $50 million to help voluntary actions to restore and conserve species and their habitats over five years.

– $9.2 million to connect urban Canadians to nature over five years.

– $3 million for an Earth Rangers program to expand family-oriented conservation programming over three years.

This follows on the footsteps of news from Alberta, earlier today, that the province has commenced lease sales for seven plots of land (consisting of approximately 1700 hectares of mountain caribou habitat) in northern Alberta.

The leasing news from Alberta, itself, came after news that a federal panel of scientists, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, concluded that all of Alberta’s mountain caribou herds should be considered endangered.

Today’s five-year commitment to the conservation of Canada’s environment is a smaller commitment than the Government has made to ensuring broadband service to 280,000 rural homes ($305,000,000.00 ($305 million) over five years).

It is hard to judge the impact of this announcement, but difficult not to be suspicious: it lacks any real detail (despite this being an election promise from three years ago), and follows on the heels of the gutting of federal environmental and fisheries laws by the government.

By James Early