With a federal election on the horizon in October, it’s time to make the conservation of wild species and wild spaces an election issue. If a party candidate comes knocking at your door, consider asking one of the following seven questions.
1. Climate change is a major and growing threat to wild species, wild spaces and human health. Will your party commit to increasing climate emission reduction targets so that they meet Canada’s obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement and are in line with preventing a global temperature rise of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius?
3. Next year, Canada and other parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity will be renegotiating a new global target for protected areas. Will your party champion a global target of protecting at least 30 percent of land, freshwater and ocean by 2030 and adopt these in Canada?
4. Ontario has gutted its Endangered Species Act. Will your party protect Canada’s at-risk plants and animals by using the federal Species at Risk Act to step in where provinces are failing to protect species facing imminent threats?
6. Neonicotinoid pesticides are known to negatively impact pollinators, causing direct mortality and impairing navigation, learning, food collection, resistance to disease and reproduction. Will your party implement an immediate ban on all neonicotinoid pesticides, and support farmers to transition to safer alternatives?
7. Almost all Canadians believe that Canada should recognize the legal right to a healthy environment, as is the case in more than 150 countries worldwide. The right to a healthy environment results in stronger environmental laws, better enforcement of those laws and a greater public role in environmental decision-making. Will you introduce legislation to create a federal Environmental Bill of Rights?
This election, whom we vote for matters more than ever. Not just for our country, but for the health of the planet. As wildlife declines, ecosystems unravel and the climate changes we will need leaders prepared to chart a course to a better and safer future for us all.
Stand with us and sign the One Earth, One Vote petition. Tell our party leaders that you will only vote for a government that will uphold environmental protection, economic justice and human rights.
Anne Bell has been directing Ontario Nature’s conservation and education programs since 2007. She loves to go birding, camping, swimming, and skiing and to play hockey with her husband and two daughters, Kestrel and Castilleja.