Why the Federal Budget Will Decide if Canada Is Serious About Protected Areas as Nature Faces Greater Risks Every Day
Later this month, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, will present her first federal budget in the House of Commons. In the two years since the last budget was unveiled, countless species and many ecosystems in Canada have continued to decline, inching closer to extinction.
All these factors make this a critical year for investing in protected areas and Indigenous-led conservation initiatives. Creating new protected areas is an essential tool that the government must use to reverse the decline of species in Canada. Supporting the creation of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas is important for ensuring Indigenous peoples can protect the lands and waters in their territories. But these programs need investment, and time is running out.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been on the world stage, promising to be a champion for nature protection, and for many Canadians, those inspiring words give us hope. Promises, however, are only good when they’re kept. All our eyes will be on the budget to see if these commitments to protect nature will become a reality.
It’s critical that Minister Freeland set her sights high enough to ensure that the government meets the 25% protection goal on time. If we don’t, many ecosystems will come closer to collapse, carbon-rich natural areas risk irreversible damage, and the government will have failed to rise to the challenge of the biodiversity crisis.
Making an Impact
We need your help to secure these important investments. If you haven’t already, send the Honourable Chrystia Freeland a letter and copy your local Member of Parliament. So far, over 30,000 letters have been sent! This is a Nature Canada record and demonstrates that Canadians are passionate about protecting nature.
Nature organizations across Canada have been making their voices heard too. In our annual Nature on the Hill event, dozens of nature groups met with Members of Parliament and federal Ministers. As part of the grand finale, this week, fifty women leaders in Canada sent Minister Freeland an open letter calling for her to ensure investments for protected areas match the expert recommendations of $4.8B over the next five years.
Time is Running Out
Nature has been there for us in our most trying times, yet nature in Canada is declining faster than ever. The upcoming budget is the government’s chance to save it before it’s too late. Protected areas take time through careful partnerships with provinces, territories, Indigenous governments, and other partners, so the investments must start now.
Investing at an ambitious level is also critical to maintaining Canada’s credibility on the world stage. The United States is increasingly becoming an ally for conservation as President Biden committed to protecting 30% by 2030 earlier this year. At upcoming international events, like the Climate Leaders Summit President Biden is hosting on Earth Day, and in negotiations on the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, for example, will Canada be able to exert leadership on others having invested strongly in nature at home? Only the upcoming budget will tell.
Time is running out and the budget is set to be released on April 19th. While many of you have already taken action, it’s not too late to send a letter, share the action on social media, or talk to your loved ones about this important moment for nature.
Make sure to sign up for updates, and follow our Facebook or Twitter to see our reaction on budget day. To all our supporters, thank you for your overwhelming support of this campaign, and as we enter the final days we appreciate you sharing this information far and wide.