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press release

Reaction to Minister Guilbeault’s support of nature protection law

December 15, 2022

MONTREAL/ TRADITIONAL TERRITORY OF THE KANIEN’KEHÁ:KA PEOPLES OF THE HAUDENOSAUNEE CONFEDERACY –  Ecojustice and Greenpeace Canada applaud the leadership shown by Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault, who today signaled his willingness to enshrine Canada’s nature targets in legislation.

Earlier this year, Greenpeace Canada, in collaboration with Ecojustice, released a report urging the federal government to co-develop a legislative framework in ethical cooperation with Indigenous leadership that binds biodiversity targets to a clear timeline, decolonizes protection and restoration practices, and ensures legal accountability from governments.

Melanie Snow, legislative affairs specialist, Ecojustice said:

“Today’s remarks by Minister Guilbeault are an important step to ensure that Canada hits its biodiversity targets. We need a law that holds federal and provincial governments to account for fulfilling the ambition and promises put forward during COP15, and meeting biodiversity targets in a manner that respects Indigenous rights and sovereignty.

“Thanks largely to the stewardship and leadership of Indigenous Peoples, one-tenth of the world’s forests, one-quarter of the world’s wetlands, and more freshwater lakes than all other countries combined continue to exist here in so-called Canada.

“Just as Canada has legislated accountability to achieve net-zero emissions in the fight against the climate crisis, we need strong laws that hold governments to account for achieving biodiversity targets.”

Reykia Fick, nature and food campaigner, Greenpeace Canada said:

“Minister Guilbeault’s stated support for new legislation is excellent news for nature and wildlife across Canada. Now that the Minister has expressed his willingness to put in the work to make it happen, it’s over to Prime Minister Trudeau to give the green light.

“To avoid a repeat of the last ten years’ failed biodiversity targets, we need this legislation to provide a clear plan for halting and reversing Canada’s extinction crisis. It must ensure respect for Indigenous rights, equitable access to nature and strong public accountability measures. 

“Similar to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) negotiations taking place in Montreal this week, it will be of the utmost importance to recognise Indigenous governance and stewardship as wholly legitimate forms of nature protection.”