1,500 scientists urge saving Canada’s boreal forest

May 17, 2007

This week 1,500 scientists from around the world are pleading with Canada to save our boreal forest, underscoring the irresponsibility of Hugh McFadyen’s threat to force a new bipole transmission line through the pristine East Side of Lake Winnipeg.

“Canada’s boreal forest is the largest intact forest and wetland ecosystem in the world, home to billions of species and a major source of freshwater,” said Conservation Minister Stan Struthers. “For the sake of our planet, governments have a responsibility to protect this national treasure, not desecrate it as the Conservatives are proposing.”

Scientists from more than 50 countries recognize the importance of protecting our boreal forest from development, but Hugh McFadyen either refuses to listen or simply doesn’t get it. McFadyen’s plans to cut a wide swath hundreds of kilometres long through this untouched ecosystem flies in the face of sound science and common sense.

The NDP has pledged that no hydro development will take place on the East Side and is working in partnership with First Nations to ensure Manitoba’s vast boreal forest is protected. Under the NDP 80 community consultations have taken place with East-Side residents. There is no consensus support for a hydro line down the East Side.

The East Side of Lake Winnipeg is a proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site. In February, four First Nations and the governments of Manitoba and Ontario announced the formation of Pimachiowin-Aki, a new non-profit corporation working to secure the UNESCO designation.

This week as well, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s environmental advisor, Terry Tamminen, prominently singled out Manitoba’s action as an example of leadership on climate change, adding to Manitoba’s and California’s ongoing partnership in advancing this vital area.

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