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Nature groups across Canada take to Parliament Hill for lobby day

Humpback whale surfacing, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site © Christine Rondeau CC BY 2.0

Ottawa (April 8, 2019)—From Big Pharma to Big Oil, hundreds of lobbyists gather on Parliament Hill every year to advocate for industry and business. It’s time Big Nature started getting more airtime.

On Nature Day, Tuesday, April 9, more than 50 delegates from organizations across Canada will be in Ottawa to meet with their local MPs and cabinet ministers on Parliament Hill. These meetings could not be more urgent. The planet is losing species at an alarming rate. In Canada, half our wildlife species have declined by 83 per cent since 1970.

“There is a growing crisis of species extinction—across Canada and around the world. Solutions are at hand, but we need to rally our voices. The cross-Canada Nature Network is coming together to show parliamentarians that Canadians from coast to coast want long term and effective protections for nature. We are asking that they become #MPsForNature to ensure the federal government delivers on its commitments to double protected areas in Canada by 2020 and support Indigenous-led conservation approaches,” said Gauri Sreenivasan, Director of Campaigns Protected Areas.

The delegates are asking politicians to ensure Canada meets its international commitment to protect 17 per cent of land and inland waters, and 10 per cent of marine and coastal areas by 2020 as part of the United Nations Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

A Protected Areas Declaration will be presented to Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna. This document has been signed by over 354 nature groups and demonstrates that coast-to-coast Canadians care deeply about protected areas and understand the importance of reaching the 2020 targets.

“The evidence is clear that biodiversity and people will suffer if we do not protect and restore more natural areas. Today, we’re asking the government to heed the call of 354 diverse national, provincial and local organizations that have endorsed the Protected Places Declaration” said Caroline Schultz, Ontario Nature’s Executive Director. “These include conservation and environmental organizations, Indigenous organizations, land trusts, businesses, and recreational organizations. Canada has the opportunity to be an environmental leader and to make a long-term investment in our collective futures that will pay off many times over.”

The event is being co-hosted by Ontario Nature and Nature Canada. Hector the Shark—travelling to Ottawa from Halifax—will and bring new meaning to the term “political shark.” Participants will be using #MPsForNature and #DéputésPourLaNature to document the day. Media are welcome to attend a reception at the Metropolitain Brasserie in Ottawa.

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For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Haley Ritchie
Communications Specialist, Nature Canada
613-562-3447 ext. 252

Jaklynn Nimec
Communications Coordinator, Ontario Nature
416-444-8419 ext. 236