Nature groups from across Canada hold virtual summit on Parliament Hill this week
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ottawa, ON (February 17, 2021) – As Parliament resumes this week, Nature Canada’s Nature on the Hill event brings together over 60 nature groups with Members of Parliament to push for cross-party support in favour of investing at least $4.8 billion in this year’s budget to meet the government’s promise to protect 30 percent of Canadian land, water and ocean by 2030.
“The response has been incredible,” says Graham Saul, Executive Director at Nature Canada. “To have this level of participation from Ministers Jordan and Wilkinson, from MPs from all parties, and from the incredible network of nature groups joining us this year – it’s more than we could have hoped for given the pandemic and really shows what a priority this issue is to all Canadians. And MPs from all parties seem to recognize that.”
For many volunteers who have signed up to meet with MPs, attending the event virtually will be a new experience. “Some older members of our groups have gathered their courage to get on zoom, it is that important to them!” said Saul.
The pandemic and the expected recovery stimulus have made this year’s event more important than ever. Environmental groups expect that there may be some amount of funding for protected areas in this year’s budget but demonstrating public support for the investment will be critical in these last few weeks as difficult decisions are made about what makes the final cut.
The public is also expecting action. So far Nature Canada has received and submitted over 20,000 letters from Canadians urging Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland, to ensure protected areas are a budget priority.
The groups assembling for the virtual summit this week will meet with local MPs and attend a town hall with Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan on Friday.
The list of MPs who have signed up to meet with participating groups include members from all parties and all regions of Canada. The Nature groups they will be meeting represent a wide range of interests from watershed alliances, to birders, to friends of local parks groups.
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