OPEN LETTER TO MINISTER GUILBEAULT
18 January 2023
Dear Minister Guilbeault,
It was a pleasure meeting you last April at the Climate and Sport summit with Adam Vankoeverden. Since that time, the Protect Our Winters Canada team has felt encouraged by the positive steps your government is taking towards meeting Canada’s climate goals, particularly announcements relating to the elimination of funding of international fossil fuel projects. We look forward to more progress in this area domestically.
Most recently, we attended COP-15 and were extremely pleased to hear that we can expect Federal biodiversity protection legislation to be enacted. As you know, POW Canada’s 30,000 members are passionate outdoor enthusiasts who deeply support protecting the places that make Canada unique in the world. To be effective, the draft legislation must:
- Lands earmarked for protection have inherent biodiversity value and are not already degraded;
- Connect protected lands to create corridors for wildlife;
- Build accountability into the legislation, with clear targets and reporting mechanisms that ensure transparency for the public;
- Engage provinces and support biodiversity protection at the same or higher standards;
- Mandate that biodiversity goals take precedence in the event of any conflict with other Federal legislation;
- Phase down extractive practices and incentivize regenerative approaches to limit the degradation caused by excessive demand for new materials.
While Canada is rich in resources, the value of our lands goes far beyond what can be extracted from them. The outdoor industry is a major contributor to our country’s economy. From the 30 million visitors who come to experience our majestic mountains, lakes and forests every year, to outdoor retailers, resorts and guiding operations who employ tens of thousands of Canadians, our wellbeing as a nation depends on the gifts of our biodiversity.
Critically, in achieving Canada's biodiversity goals the continued recognition of Indigenous sovereignties and knowledges will be key. Canada has an opportunity showcase to the world how it can cooperatively engage with Indigenous peoples in supporting Indigenous led initiatives and braid differing knowledge systems. These are vitally important steps in achieving reconciliation and a brighter future for all Canadians.
Please find attached the names of over 500 POW Canada members calling for robust and thoroughly drafted legislation.
Executive Director, Protect Our Winters Canada