The Federal Election That ‘Changed Nothing’ Actually Moves the Dial for Nature and Climate Change
On Monday, Canadians went to the polls to weigh in on the future direction of the country. The result is a resounding message from voters that they expect the major federal parties to continue working together on the major issues we face today. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was re-elected in a minority government after an election where the environment was once again among the top priorities for voters.
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Many political pundits and media outlets have made the comment that nothing in federal politics has changed. In the grand view, they’re right – this Parliament is similar, if not mostly the same, to the one that dissolved this summer. When it comes to nature and climate, however, the election made waves. The election campaign has resulted in a positive policy shift for Nature Canada’s priorities and has given rise to new milestones and commitments for nature and climate. This is critical as the twin crises of species loss and climate change must be solved together or we solve neither.
The major parties stepped up for nature
Responding to Canadians’ heightened valuing of nature and concern at climate change the major federal election platforms included targets for protecting land and ocean, alongside commitments to support Indigenous-led conservation and nature-based solutions to climate change. While they each took different approaches, all parties appropriately recognized that federal action is needed to halt and reverse nature loss, alongside addressing climate change. In fact, each party committed to more ambition than in their previous platforms, including new targets or pledges to develop an action plan to bring species and habitats back from degradation and the brink of extinction.
Keeping promises to recover nature
The Liberal government pledged to create 10 new national parks, 10 new national marine conservation areas, and 15 new national urban parks. They also committed to halting nature loss by 2030, and securing nature’s full recovery by 2050, and expand investment in nature-based solutions to climate change. Building on the historic investment in nature from Budget 2021, these promises are great to see and have the potential to make Canada a leader in building a nature-positive, carbon-neutral and equitable world.
Nature Canada along with our supporters will be engaging with decision-makers to see these commitments fulfilled. This will include the need for the Liberal government to develop a credible, and comprehensive 10 year plan to ensure that the target of halting and reversing nature loss by 2030 is achieved. Canada’s Biodiversity Strategy dates from 1995 and there are major gaps to its full implementation. We need a strategy, and action plan for the future to restore ecosystems and ensure over 600 species in Canada move from being at-risk to being on the road to recovery.
Canadians embraced the Nature Platform
Nature Canada supporters and groups in the Nature Network really stepped up to the plate over the past 36 days of the election campaign. The Nature Platform helped Canadians and nature groups across the country know what to look for in a party’s pledges. Many individuals sent letters and posted on social media to encourage candidates in their ridings to take action to support Indigenous-led conservation, protect land and ocean, use nature-based solutions to fight climate change and champion environmental justice. It was inspiring to see the Nature Platform embraced by supporters and followers, as well as the media during the federal election.
Next steps for the re-elected government
Now that the election has come and gone, it’s time for the Prime Minister, and all Members of Parliament to roll up their sleeves and get to work. While the federal parties have been campaigning, the crises of species loss and climate change have only been getting worse.
It’s a strong signal to see parties include nature conservation in their platforms, but the federal government must go further to develop a comprehensive plan to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030 and ensure nature’s full recovery by 2050. We need your help to ensure the government makes good on its promises, sign up for our newsletter so you never miss an action alert or important nature news!