Today, the Manitoba chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) released the results of its all-party provincial election questionnaire. The responses are to inform voters of party positions on issues related to the future health of the vast Boreal ecosystem of Manitoba, which covers 80% of the province. The questions were developed with input from CPAWS members. Hundreds of Manitobans signed online in support of the request for public responses to the questions from all parties. The responses are being distributed to over 100,000 Manitobans through social media avenues. All major parties with the exception of the Manitoba Liberal Party provided submissions.
‘A 2015 Probe Research poll shows 88% of people in Manitoba want the majority of the Boreal protected from industrial developments,”(1) says Ron Thiessen, Executive Director of CPAWS Manitoba. “Also, as recent voter polls have shown the environment to be a top of mind, it is key that citizens know the perspectives and plans of political parties for the Boreal of Manitoba; part of the world’s largest intact forest ecosystem.”
The questionnaire focuses on four key topics of Boreal relevance including the health of Lake Winnipeg, threatened woodland caribou populations, community-led land use planning, and protected areas.
‘There is a growing wave of rightsholders and stakeholders that support the scientist-based recommendation for large scale protection of the natural infrastructure that we all depend on. The Boreal region offers the province’s best opportunity for long term planning for a balance of conservation and the development of prosperous economies’ says Thiessen. “We’re hopeful the party that forms government on April 19th will make Manitoba the Canadian leader in Boreal protection and sustainable economic development.”
CPAWS is encouraging citizens to review the questionnaire and call their local provincial candidates to ask one or more of the questions along with a request to make public election commitments about Manitoba’s Boreal region.
The Boreal is the northern hemisphere’s largest ecosystem, composed of a mosaic of interconnected wetlands lakes, rivers, and dominated by spruce, fir, poplar, birch and jack pine trees. Woodland caribou, moose, bears, foxes, eagles, ducks, and songbirds all need a healthy Boreal for their survival. The Boreal’s natural resources are a major economic engine for Manitoba and have sustained Indigenous peoples for over 6000 years.
For more information and interviews:
Ron Thiessen, Executive Director
Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society – Manitoba Chapter