A Cleaner and Greener Natural Environment

From the Rocky Mountains to the Northern tundra to the Bay of Fundy, Canada is home to the world’s most beautiful landscapes, natural landmarks, and parks - from sea to sea.

The quality of our local environment impacts our lives and Canadians care deeply about what happens in their own backyard. We recognize the important work that is being done across the country by Canadians acting as stewards of our environment: farmers who manage their family land so they can pass their farms down to their children and grandchildren; community organizations who work to make sure parks and playgrounds are free of litter; hunters and anglers who responsibly manage supply so next year’s season is better than the last; and park rangers and volunteers who make sure our natural landscapes are open for families and friends to enjoy.

A Real Plan to Protect Our Environment builds on this important work and emphasizes community engagement and consultation. Our plan will conserve and protect our air, land, water and wildlife.

STRATEGY FOR INVASIVE SPECIES AND MAJOR PESTS

Across the country, there are invasive species and major pests that can degrade habitat, kill or displace other species, introduce parasites, or impact our interactions with the environment. These include pine beetles, Asian carp, emerald ash borer, and zebra mussels.

Our plan calls for a comprehensive update of Canada’s strategy to protect our fisheries, forests, agricultural lands, tourist areas, and the millions of good jobs in those industries.

As Prime Minister, Andrew Scheer will:

  • Review and update the Invasive Alien Species Strategy for Canada, as well as the invasive species action plans.
  • Build on the important work that is done by Parks Canada to control pest species on waterways and lands that pose a substantial threat to forest and aquatic health.

MANAGING OUR PROTECTED AREAS

From Stanley Park and Banff National Park in the West, to Rocher Percé, Gros Morne and the Cape Breton Highlands in the East, to Lancaster Sound and Nahanni in the North, these areas - and so many others in between - deserve proper management.

With the passage of Bill C-55, the Trudeau Liberals have undercut the consultation process that is vital to designating protected areas. Now, Marine Protected Areas are being determined before consultation happens. This means that Canada’s commercial fishers and small coastal communities will be forced to fight the government to defend their interests when they should have been consulted in the first place.

Canada must have a robust protected area system. We will conduct consultations with local communities and governments, business owners, and Indigenous peoples to make sure that our approach has the best interests of the communities in mind.

We will restore protections for meaningful community consultations that were taken away by the Liberal government.  We are committed to setting aside 17% of Canada’s terrestrial area and 10% of marine area as agreed to by the previous Conservative government.

We believe that the quality of land set aside is every bit as important as the quantity, so we must make sure we take the time to get it right.

As Prime Minister, Andrew Scheer will:

  • Lead a science-based terrestrial and marine conservation assessment to identify the best opportunities for expanding our protected area network, including parks, marine protected areas, national wildlife areas and migratory bird sanctuaries.
  • Identify high-value, low-conflict areas and initiate an expedited process to declare the area as protected.
  • Work with Indigenous peoples to explore options for more active participation in the management of protected areas.
  • Reinstate up-front consultations with communities and stakeholders before determining protected area boundaries.
  • Ensure that protected area approval processes are reasonable, timely, and respectful of local communities.

MANAGING OUR WETLANDS

Wetlands can help to protect Canada from floods and droughts. They help recharge our groundwater and purify our water. They provide important habitat for fish and wildlife. They offer opportunities for recreation and they sequester carbon. 

Canada has close to one quarter of the world’s remaining wetlands, but in settled areas up to 70% of our wetlands have been destroyed or degraded. Our wetlands have been undervalued and their habitats neglected. As our wetlands are lost, Canadians lose the important protections they provide. For example, our communities become more susceptible to flooding and drought. This is particularly true on private lands.

We recognize that private landowners with sensitive wetlands are valuable partners in conservation. Our plan’s objective is to reduce conflict between local government and landowners to support management of wetlands so that we can find a way to conserve and manage our wetlands in respectful and meaningful ways.

As Prime Minister, Andrew Scheer will:

  • Support the completion of the Canadian Wetland Inventory. This will cost $15 million over three years.
  • Study the feasibility of an incentives-based program that restores, maintains and protects critical habitats. This study will:
    • Identify regions and ecosystems that provide significant ecological goods and services; and,
    • Assess options for maintaining or restoring critical habitats in these areas on private lands.

Ecological goods and services programs currently exist for private lands. FlexFarm developed Ducks Unlimited and ALUS are two examples. Our study would allow us to consider expanding on the work of these important programs.

BETTER UNDERSTANDING THE CHALLENGE

To successfully reduce emissions at home we must understand the contributions of our forests, wetlands, tundra, and managed lands as a carbon sink. In the past, Canada’s vast forests were a net carbon sink, but in recent years, wildfires and pest infestations may have tipped the scale in the other direction. It is vital that we identify not only where we are now, but also where the opportunities are so that we can make better land use decisions for the future.

As Prime Minister, Andrew Scheer will:

  • Study the contribution that Canada’s landscape makes to global emissions.

COMBATTING AIR POLLUTION

More than 80% of Canadians now live in urban areas and more than a third of all Canadians live in our three biggest metro areas (Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver). Our cities are some of the most liveable in the world, but air pollution, even at low levels, is hurting our communities. Air pollution and smog contributes to an estimated 14,000 premature deaths each year in Canada alone[20].

Improving air quality will help Canadians  breathe easier and make sure that our cities continue to be healthy, attractive places to live, work and play.

As Prime Minister, Andrew Scheer will:

  • Review and modernize air quality standards and regulations, with a focus on urban airsheds.

PROTECTING OUR WATERWAYS

Canada’s waterways opened our nation to explorers and offered early trade routes that set the stage for a dynamic, modern economy. Today, our waterways support our trade-based economy and sustain our livelihoods in several ways.

They should not be used as a toxic dumping ground.

Since taking office, the Trudeau Liberals have failed to protect our waterways from pollution. In one of her first acts as Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna allowed the City of Montreal to dump 8 billion litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River. In 2017 alone, municipalities dumped 215 billion litres of raw sewage untreated into lakes and rivers across the country.

The previous Conservative government had an excellent track record on waste management. We created the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations to set higher standards for wastewater treatment. We also made wastewater investments across the country, including in Montreal and Victoria.

As Prime Minister, Andrew Scheer will:

  • Work with provinces and municipalities to bring an end to raw sewage dumps into marine or freshwater ecosystems.

In 2007, the previous Conservative government implemented the Lake Simcoe Clean-Up Fund. It funded over 200 community-based projects that restored fish and wildlife populations, planted thousands of new trees, and reduced harmful sewage and waste dumps into watersheds. The Trudeau Liberals cancelled the fund in 2017.

As Prime Minister, Andrew Scheer will:

  • Maintain support for watershed protection in significant watersheds, including the Great Lakes and Lake Winnipeg, and restore the Lake Simcoe Clean-Up Fund.

REINSTATING AND IMPROVING CONSERVATION PROJECT FUNDING

Workers and volunteers roll up their sleeves and work on conservation projects in their communities. This kind of community-minded action gets real results and should be supported.

As Prime Minister, Andrew Scheer will:

  • Restore funding for the community-led National Wetland Conservation Fund (NWCF) which was cancelled by the Liberals. This will cost $4 million a year.
  • Restore funding for the community-led Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnership Program (RFCPP), which was cancelled by the Liberals. This will cost $10 million a year.
  • Create a new fund for community-based projects targeted to wildlife enhancement. This will cost $25 million over five years.
  • Maintain the community-led Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk. 
  • Maintain important national conservation programs, including the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and the Natural Heritage Conservation Program.

PROTECTING MIGRATORY BIRDS

Migratory birds are iconic symbols in Canada. Hunting migratory birds requires a permit with a valid Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation stamp. Proceeds from the sale of these stamps go to support conservation efforts in communities across Canada.

As Prime Minister, Andrew Scheer will:

  • Continue to fund the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.
  • Increased resources for waterfowl conservation measures, funded by modest increases for non-resident hunters on the cost of the migratory bird stamp.

RESPECTING HUNTERS AND ANGLERS

Canada’s hunters and anglers make significant contributions to the preservation of species and habitats and can offer valuable advice on the stewardship of Canada’s wildlife. The Trudeau Liberals cut the Hunting and Angling Advisory Panel, choosing to lose touch with what is happening in our local communities. Our plan will make sure that our hunters and anglers have a seat at the table. 

As Prime Minister, Andrew Scheer will:

  • Re-establish the Hunting and Angling Advisory Panel.

TAKING ACTION ON PLASTICS AND WASTE

The Trudeau Liberals have failed to diagnose Canada’s plastic problem and therefore have provided meaningless solutions.

Justin Trudeau has failed to recognize that plastic is a global problem. Almost all the plastic that is on our shoreline and in our waters comes from other countries.

There is no question our country’s recycling must improve. Too often, products are packaged in excessive amounts of plastic and too little of our plastic is recycled and reused.

Provinces and territories have the primary responsibility for managing plastic and they are taking action.  British Columbia has led extended producer responsibility efforts and Ontario recently announced a plan to do the same. However, the lack of common standards and practices has posed a barrier to national companies wishing to reduce their waste. By working with our provincial and territorial partners as well as the private sector towards a common goal, we can work to improve the way plastics are used, re-used and recycled in Canada.

Canada needs to improve its waste management. Waste that is not properly managed ends up littering our parks, our rivers, our lakes, and our streams. Nationally, only about a quarter of our waste is diverted from landfills[21]. That is significantly less than other OECD countries.  There are many companies that have the ability and the will to divert or convert waste into clean energy, but their intentions and efforts are hampered by a patchwork of regulatory regimes across the country. Significant legwork has been done by provinces and territories in terms of planning to improve waste management, but an engaged federal partner with a strong focus on technological progress and red tape reduction will help provinces, territories and the private sector take action to reduce waste.

As Prime Minister, Andrew Scheer will:

  • Ban the export of plastics waste unless it can be shown that it will be recycled at its destination and impose tough penalties for violations.
  • Work with provinces, territories, plastics producers and other stakeholders to develop a nationally harmonized regulatory regime for plastics recycling including elements of extended producer responsibility and harmonized standards for products and packaging containing plastic.
  • Work with producers to minimize the plastic packaging of products.
  • Work with international partners to combat oceans plastic.
  • Work with provinces and territories to reduce waste and to increase the recovery of clean energy products and other valuable by-products from existing waste.

Enerkem is a Canadian company that has developed a carbon recycling process that can convert unrecyclable waste into clean burning ethanol and methanol. Headquartered in Montreal, with an operating facility in Edmonton, and an innovation centre in Westbury, QC, Enerkem is a truly Canadian company with a global reach. Guided by our Green Technology, Not Taxes principle, policies like our Green Patent Credit will encourage research and development in the waste industry and help ensure innovative companies like Enerkem can continue to grow in Canada.

ENFORCING OUR ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS

We must have strong environmental laws in place and our plan will make sure that those laws are enforced. Poachers and individuals who willfully break Canada’s environmental laws should suffer the consequences of their actions and be held accountable.

As Prime Minister, Andrew Scheer will:

  • Prioritize funding for environmental compliance and enforcement.

PROTECTING OUR OCEANS

Marine shipping is vital to our country’s economy. Managing ocean traffic and shipping logistics must include the protection of our coastal communities and marine life.

Our plan proposes a science-based approach, greater flexibility in shipping routes, and increased monitoring to improve safety.  We believe the solution lies in better technology and data-driven decisions, and not by banning shipping traffic and harming the economy like the Trudeau Liberals have done. We will explore real-time monitoring to share crucial information about ocean environments with mariners. Real-time data could make sure that ships avoid interactions with whales and marine animals and ensures marine traffic is only re-routed when there are real threats posed to marine life.

As Prime Minister, Andrew Scheer will:

  • Work with coastal provinces, business leaders and industry experts to explore the creation of flexible shipping routes based on latest scientific data, to reduce the impacts of shipping on marine life.
  • Incorporate environmental components to existing shipping corridors alongside other important components, such as physical safety.

[20] Government of Canada. 2017. Health Impacts of Air Pollution in Canada: an Estimate of Premature Mortalities. 13 pp

[21] OECD. 2017. OECD Environmental Performance Reviews: Canada. 226 pp.

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