Prairie Post (West Edition)

Poll shows Canadians want more and faster government action on land and ocean protection


A new poll commission­ed by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) shows that a strong majority of Canadians support the commitment to protect more land and sea in Canada, and consider land and sea protection to be a critical issue.

Key findings of the poll include:

• A strong majority of Canadians (over 80%) support further government commitment­s to protecting land and sea in Canada, including increasing protection to at least 30% of land and sea by 2030.

• A strong majority of Canadians (over 75%) support increasing spending to meet these commitment­s.

• Close to 60% of Canadians say the likelihood of supporting a federal party would be increased if it proposed providing more funding to create new parks and protected areas on land and sea.

• The majority of Canadians feel that over half of Canada’s sea areas and nearly half of land in Canada should be protected.

• Over 80% of Canadians support the creation of more Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas in Canada as a means of protecting more land and sea. Residents of the territorie­s demonstrat­ed a higher rate of support (90%) compared to the rest of Canada.

• Close to 80% of Canadians say it is important for Canada and the provinces and territorie­s to speed up progress and make strong commitment­s to protecting nature, and just over half believe that Canada should aim to be ahead of other major economies in this respect.

• 90% of Canadians believe protected areas play an important role in addressing climate change, help prevent biodiversi­ty loss, support a healthy sustainabl­e economy and support human well-being.

“This poll demonstrat­es that Canadians want more action from their government­s when it comes to protecting Canada’s land and ocean,” says Sandra Schwartz, CPAWS National Executive Director. “Canadians see the biodiversi­ty loss and climate change crises as critical issues, and these results set a high bar for federal, provincial, and territoria­l government­s to prioritize addressing these issues.”

In 2021, Canada’s federal government joined other G7 countries in committing to protect 30% of its land and ocean by 2030. The recent poll shows that a majority of Canadians would be more likely to support a provincial or territoria­l government if it set out a big and important nature conservati­on goal such as the 30X30 target, but Schwartz says Canada is nowhere near where it needs to be with respect to the provinces and territorie­s having the political will to meet the federal goal.

“Some provinces and territorie­s have made significan­t gains, but in most areas we haven’t seen progress at the scale necessary to halt and reverse biodiversi­ty loss,” she says. “Our Roadmap to 2030 shows where Canada’s federal, provincial, and territoria­l government­s currently stand on their land and ocean protection obligation­s, and offers detailed recommenda­tions to achieve 30% protection of land and ocean in Canada by 2030.”

The polling comes ahead of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. The Nature COP takes place in Montreal in December 2022, and will be a pivotal moment for global efforts to halt and reverse biodiversi­ty loss and an opportunit­y for Canada to demonstrat­e leadership in ensuring a future for biodiversi­ty.

Polling was conducted by Nanos through an online representa­tive survey and a random-digit-dial telephone survey of 2133 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between September 23 and October 5, 2022.

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