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Evidence of meeting #30 for Environment and Sustainable Development in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was species.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Rick Bates  Executive Director, Canadian Wildlife Federation
Ian Davidson  Executive Director, Nature Canada
John Lounds  President and Chief Executive Officer, Nature Conservancy Canada
Michael Bradstreet  Vice-President, Conservation, Nature Conservancy Canada
David Browne  Director of Conservation, Canadian Wildlife Federation

4:30 p.m.

Executive Director, Canadian Wildlife Federation

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Should that be a recommendation in our report?

4:30 p.m.

Executive Director, Canadian Wildlife Federation

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Okay.

Should the establishment of marine-use planning processes be part of a conservation plan to designate a comprehensive system of marine protected areas and a suite of conservation objectives and management prescriptions? Should that be part of...?

4:30 p.m.

Executive Director, Canadian Wildlife Federation

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

That should be a recommendation? Okay. Thank you.

I still have one minute.

With regard to climate change and its impact on wildlife, we have to reduce emissions to scientifically determined levels, and I think we also have to help wildlife adapt. Many species already face altered habitats due to changing climate conditions. They need our help to survive.

What would be your recommendation around climate change? Would it be to invest in conserving and restoring natural areas in recognition that growing plants and soils remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while increasing wildlife's capacity to adapt? Would that be a recommendation?

4:30 p.m.

Executive Director, Canadian Wildlife Federation

Rick Bates

Yes. I think those are clearly no-lose recommendations. There's an opportunity to benefit all by taking that kind of an approach.

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Okay.

And I'm done.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Mark Warawa

You are. You've got your own watch.

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Thank you, everybody.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Mark Warawa

We'll begin our five-minute rounds.

Monsieur Choquette, you have five minutes.

4:30 p.m.

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

The three groups can answer my first question with a yes or no answer. Do you all agree that the work done by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy in 2003, including its report—with which you are obviously familiar—is a good start? Are its recommendations still valid today?

4:30 p.m.

Executive Director, Canadian Wildlife Federation

Rick Bates

I'm not completely familiar with all the work they've done, but in principle, yes, I think the round table has done some excellent work.

4:30 p.m.

Executive Director, Nature Canada

Ian Davidson

I'm definitely supportive of the work but not familiar with that specific 2003 document.

4:30 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Nature Conservancy Canada

John Lounds

I'd have to beg your forgiveness because my name will be in that report as an adviser, so I can't say I didn't know about it. I think it was good work at the time. I think much has changed since then. Canadians are becoming more involved and interested in conservation, people who hadn't been interested before, in terms of the work that's going on across the country.

April 24th, 2012 / 4:35 p.m.

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Thank you very much. I have to interrupt you because I don't have very much time.

I am going to talk about the protection of oceans. I am not sure which group is more comfortable with this topic; perhaps Mr. Bates. Right now, only about 1% of marine areas are protected. We have a nice target of 20% by 2017. I love the idea of owning the podium. I am all for it; it is a great recommendation.

Should there be a similar recommendation for protecting marine waters?

4:35 p.m.

Executive Director, Canadian Wildlife Federation

Rick Bates

Yes, I think it would be very helpful to have clear recommendations and targets for marine-managed areas or protected areas, whatever term we like to use, identifying the most important areas for wildlife in the ocean and being clear about our intentions.

4:35 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Nature Conservancy Canada

John Lounds

The Convention on Biological Diversity target is 17% for terrestrial by 2020. It also has a target of 10% for marine by 2020, and Canada has also signed on to that.

4:35 p.m.

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Thank you very much.

I would like to briefly talk about a holistic conservation plan rather than a site- or place-specific approach. Do you agree that we should have an ecosystem approach rather than a site-specific approach? Should we have a more holistic approach rather than a single-species approach? Would you agree with an approach like that?

4:35 p.m.

Executive Director, Nature Canada

Ian Davidson

I'll just give you a specific example. I'll go back to a program that we manage in partnership with naturalist organizations across the country. It's called Important Bird Areas and it focuses on conserving a suite or individual bird species. One of the problems with that, when you look at the prairie landscape, the grassland landscape, for example, is that it's really hard to take a species and/or a site-specific approach to conservation. Indeed we need more holistic approaches, so the ecosystem approach, in many respects, across this landscape, this ecosystem, and others across the country is very important.

4:35 p.m.

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Do you also agree, Mr. Bates?

4:35 p.m.

Executive Director, Canadian Wildlife Federation

Rick Bates

Yes. In principle, the ecosystem approach is probably the most efficient. As mentioned before, though, I think you can start from either end and arrive in the same spot. But as a starting spot, the ecosystem approach is excellent, yes.

4:35 p.m.

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

In terms of the follow-up to the national conservation plan, there might be some wonderful objectives, but who should be responsible for it? Should Environment Canada, Parks Canada or an independent company do the follow-up to make sure that it is done?

Mr. Lounds can answer.

4:35 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Nature Conservancy Canada

John Lounds

As I mentioned in our presentation, I think there are some things that Canada and Environment Canada can do well, and certainly defining what we're counting and determining how we're going to go about that is something you need to bring people together, and facilitating that is clearly something the Government of Canada should be doing. Looking at what the need is and where the gaps are, helping to figure out and set a framework so that others can join in and be involved I think is going to be important. That includes how you work with the provinces and first nations and others in various communities and how we mobilize the private sector to come to the table, both with funds and with interest in the work. That's what we need to do.

So it will involve many different players, and each will have a particular role to play.

4:35 p.m.

Executive Director, Nature Canada

Ian Davidson

I would like to concur with that completely. I think the Government of Canada and Environment Canada is the right place to drive this forward. It wouldn't have happened unless they'd stepped up to the plate to do that.