Ottawa, ON – Today, Robert Sopuck, Member of Parliament for Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa, and the Hon. Ed Fast, Member of Parliament for Abbotsford, blasted the Liberal government for its absurd decision to cancel the National Wetland Conservation Fund (NWCF).
“This decision is absolutely baffling. The program has been extremely successful at restoring degraded and lost wetlands, and at enhancing their ecological function,” said Sopuck. “Wetlands are some of the most productive ecosystems on the planet. By providing habitat and shelter for fish, nesting habitat, or safety for migratory birds, wetlands are one of our most precious resources,” continued Sopuck. “The Liberals’ decision to cancel this program is profoundly foolish, and embarrassing.”
On February 2nd, 1971, the Convention on Wetlands was adopted. It is an international agreement that aims to halt the worldwide loss of wetlands, which are among our most ecologically diverse and valuable environments. Since then, February 2nd has been celebrated as World Wetlands Day.
“For the Liberals to quietly cancel this program, just a day before World Wetlands Day, is an affront to all those individuals and organizations that work so hard on the ground to protect wetlands and improve our environment,” said Sopuck.
“I am deeply disappointed that the Trudeau Government is slashing funding for wetlands,” said Fast. “At a time when Canada’s climate is changing, wetlands measurably improve our air and water quality. Not only are wetlands valuable in rural areas, they also play a vital role for sustainable urban development and disaster mitigation. They provide drinking water, reduce air pollution and protect cities against floods.”
“Canada should be focused on embracing wetlands as a means to sequester carbon, improve wildlife habitat and manage watersheds,” said Sopuck. “This sort of natural infrastructure is one of the best tools available to fight climate change, and for the Liberals to ignore this reality demonstrates just how much they prefer talk over action when it comes to achieving environmental outcomes.”
Between September, 2014 and March 31, 2017, close to $25.5 million in federal funding was expended on 198 NWCF projects. During this same timeframe, over 2,600 hectares of wetlands and associated uplands have been restored and over 340,000 hectares of wetland and associated upland habitat have been enhanced.
“Our previous Conservative government made these significant investments into wetlands conservation and degraded ecosystem restoration because we understood the value of our natural spaces,” said Fast. “Across Canada, this vital program ensured that wetlands were preserved for future generations. We will continue to push this Liberal government to recognize the importance of these investments and to reinstate this program.”