Canadian wildlife would surely be leaping for joy (if they can leap) at the news that the Budget 2018 will earmark significant funds to protect Canada’s nature, parks and wild spaces.
$1.3 billion will be invested over 5 years. Preserving the country’s natural areas ensure that Canada will remain a place where people want to live, work, invest – and visit. So protecting the environment and helping the economy can marry well.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau said in his budget speech to the House of Commons, “Canada is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It is up to us all to help keep it that way.”
Canada has pledged to protect 17% of her land and inland waters, and 10% of her coastal and marine areas by the end of the decade. Countries are working to reach these global targets by 2020 around the world.
The budget recognises the importance of private land conservation and $500 million from the government towards the $1 billion nature fund will encourage collaboration as provinces, territories, corporate and charitable organisations work together to conserve land and protect species at risk.
There is commitment to increase the federal capacity to protect species at risk, and there are new recovery strategies: expanding national wildlife areas and migratory bird sanctuaries, and establish a new network of conservation areas, working with provincial, territorial and – crucially – indigenous partners.
There are expanded measures to include Indigenous Peoples in creating and managing protective areas. Indigenous governments have played roles already in creating protected areas across the country, from Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve of British Columbia’s northern coast to the Torngat Mountains National Park in Labrador.
This budget is being described as a game-changer for nature conservation in Canada. It should support vital work to protect the habitats, animals and plants at greatest risk. Canada has significant intact natural areas, and land trusts are specially placed to leverage the government’s investment to help slow or reverse species decline and mitigate the effects of climate change.