OTTAWA, Dec. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - Canadians overwhelmingly support a strong
Federal government commitment to protecting species at risk in Canada
no matter where they are found and regardless of their status in other
The vast majority of Canadians view protecting Canada's endangered
animals and plants as an important issue (97%) and feel that the
Federal government's current commitment to the protection and recovery
of Canada's species at risk should be maintained or strengthened (96%),
according to a new Ipsos Reid poll released today.
Reports from Canada's Environment Minister, the Honourable Peter Kent,
regarding potential changes to the Species at Risk Act raised concerns that the Act could be substantially weakened. The Ipsos
Reid poll, commissioned by the Canadian Wildlife Federation, was
designed to gauge the value Canadians place on protecting our at-risk
A large majority (85%) of Canadians agree that federal laws protecting
species at risk are essential to the diversity and abundance of
wildlife, which in turn are crucial to our economy and health. Only a
small percentage of Canadians (15%) feel these laws negatively impact
the economy and reduce job growth.
"It is clear from the poll results that Canadians believe a strong
economy can be maintained while continuing to protect our wildlife. In
fact, only 3% of Canadians feel that industry should be unrestricted by
the need to protect species at risk," says James Pagé, Species at Risk
Specialist for the Canadian Wildlife Federation.
When it comes to whether Canadians value some at-risk species more than
others, the poll found that Canadians expect a commitment to protecting
all species at risk in Canada, regardless of whether they happen to be
abundant outside of our borders (77%).
A recent decision by the federal government to not protect three species
(Coast Manroot, Laura's Clubtail and Four-leaved Milkweed) included the
argument that since they do not occur on federal lands, they do not
require federal protection.
"The vast majority of Canadians would not support that argument. Only 8%
think that the Act should only apply to species found on federal
lands," says Pagé. "This decision raises concern that the federal
government may be looking to step back from its responsibility of
providing federal oversight for all species at risk in Canada." "This
poll shows that Canadians care deeply about the state of our endangered
wildlife and they expect the Federal government to play a lead role in
protecting these species," says Pagé. "Any review of the Species at Risk Act and its implementation should be done with an aim to improve recovery
efforts for our most vulnerable species. We understand the federal
government is looking for efficiency in delivering on species at risk
protection, but this must be accomplished without compromising on the
outcomes for Canada's at-risk species."
What Canadians expect from the Federal Government:
The federal government should not decrease their current efforts for
species at risk. Only 4% of Canadians think that the federal government
is doing too much and should step back their current efforts. 96% want
to see the federal government do at least as much (34%) or more (62%)
for species at risk.
The federal government should either maintain or increase its current
financial investment in species at risk (92%). Only 8% of Canadians
think fewer resources should be invested in species at risk by the
Over half (52%) of Canadians believe the federal government must bear
the primary responsibility of protecting and recovering species at
Over three quarters (77%) of people think that scientific advice should
take precedence in decisions regarding species at risk. Within this,
62% believe economic considerations should carry some weight.
Canadians (74%) do not want to see business operate at the expense of
species at risk and (85%) think that the current law protecting species
at risk are in fact crucial to our economy and health.
There is little support (only 8%) for the Species at Risk Act to be restricted to only apply to lands under federal jurisdiction.
Three in five Canadians (59%) think the federal Act should apply to all
lands in Canada including provincial and privately owned land.
Canada needs to be responsible for all our species at risk regardless of
whether or not they occur in the United States (78%). Only 16% of
Canadians think that the federal government should not protect a
species at risk in Canada if it is common elsewhere.
The majority of Canadians (74%) believe that businesses should only
operate in a way that does not harm species at risk. In fact, almost no
Canadians (3%) believe that industry should be unrestricted by the need
to protect species at risk.
The poll was carried out between November 2nd and November 6th to gauge the public's opinions around key issues with respect to
species at risk in Canada. A sample of 1005 Canadians was surveyed
using Ipsos' standardized online panel. Weighting was used to ensure a
balanced demographic representing the adult population in Canada. The
precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility
interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 3.5
percentage points had the entire Canadian adult population been
surveyed. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources
of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement
CWF has a long history of working with species at risk, operating the
leading non-government program of its type in Canada. CWF supports
researchers and on-the-ground action through the largest funding
program in Canada outside of government, providing $500,000 per year to
enable key research on at-risk species.
About the Canadian Wildlife Federation
The Canadian Wildlife Federation is a national non-profit charitable
organization dedicated to ensuring an appreciation of our natural world
and a lasting legacy of healthy wildlife and habitat. By improving
knowledge of human impacts on the environment, developing and
delivering programs, recommending policy changes and cooperating with
like-minded partners, CWF encourages a future in which Canadians can
live in harmony with nature. For more information, visit CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca
SOURCE: CANADIAN WILDLIFE FEDERATION
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