Conservation spending should align with health care - Manitoba provincial budget 2015

While budgets increased in many provincial government departments, the latest

provincial budget dealt another decrease to Conservation and Water Stewardship

(CWS). This is curious as an enlarged investment in the Health department should

trigger an increase in CWS if our approach to human well-being is to be holistic. As

health care in Manitoba tends to focus on management and cures of ills, wise

environmental protection and management helps prevents ailments from occurring

in the first place. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of

cure. The Director-General of the World Health Organization has underscored that

“Nature’s goods and services are the ultimate foundations of life and health. ”

In Manitoba, we have part of the largest intact section of Boreal Forest on earth. The

Boreal is the world’s largest source of unfrozen fresh water, the northern lungs of

the planet, and its carbon stores help to slow global climate change. For the sake of

human health and for wildlife, it is imperative that environmental protection does

not take a backseat in times of financial constraint. We must always place top

priority on caring for the hand that feeds us.

In 2007, over 1500 scientists from around the world wrote Canadian governments a

letter indicating that we must protect at least 50% of the Boreal for it to remain

fully-functioning in providing the services we need for survival. According to a

Probe Research poll conducted in February of this year, almost 9 of 10 Manitobans

said at least half of the Boreal Region should remain free from development. To

date, Manitoba has protected about 10% of our Boreal lands and waters.

Ron Thiessen

Executive Director

Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society – Manitoba chapter


Republished from The Winnipeg Free Press 04/05/2015