CPAWS Reacts to Alberta Budget 2016


Media Release
MONDAY, APRIL 18, 2016

BUDGET 2016 A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION IF NATURE COMES FIRST:
CPAWS HOLDS FIRST ANNUAL LOBBY DAY FOLLOWING THE RELEASE OF THE PROVINCIAL BUDGET

EDMONTON – The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) Southern and Northern Alberta chapters are coming together in Edmonton today to meet with MLAs and Minister of Environment and Parks Shannon Phillips to discuss the government's commitment to environmental initiatives announced in last Thursday's budget. On the agenda: increasing Alberta’s parks and protected areas network and managing land-use across the province.

CPAWS applauds the announcement in the budget that Alberta seeks to be a leader in environmental conservation and their commitment to increasing Alberta’s parks and protected areas in accordance with Canada's international commitments. New parks and protected areas, however, must be developed meaningfully – to prioritize nature and ecological values, represent the diversity of landscapes in Alberta, and conserve biodiversity across the province.

“Parks and protected areas can play a key role in addressing many of the environmental problems facing Alberta – from safeguarding our declining caribou herds to mitigating against the impacts of climate change,” said Alison Ronson, executive director of the Northern Alberta chapter of CPAWS. “CPAWS looks forward to working with this government to ensure that the promises made in this budget to create more protected areas are fulfilled with science and conservation first.”

CPAWS is encouraged to see the government continue their commitment to land-use planning and valuing nature as a part of Albertans’ social well-being. Anne-Marie Syslak, executive director of CPAWS Southern Alberta, states, “CPAWS’ recent provincial survey shows that three quarters of Albertans are out enjoying nature and recreating on the landscape. It is important to ensure that our natural heritage is protected above all else when planning for nature-based tourism.”

Today's Lobby Day is an opportunity for MLAs to meet with volunteer board members and staff of both CPAWS chapters, and for CPAWS to share with MLAs the vision that CPAWS' members have for the province. CPAWS will be introduced in the legislature at 1:00pm and hopes to make this an annual event in Alberta.