Canadians Strongly Favour Boreal Protection Initiatives

    New poll shows widespread support across party lines for increased
    protection of Canada's national treasure

    OTTAWA, June 2 /CNW Telbec/ - Nine in ten Canadians with voting
intentions across all party lines support greater protection of the Canadian
Boreal Forest, according to a new national poll conducted by McAllister
Opinion Research for the Canadian Boreal Initiative.
    "Like the Boreal itself, Canadians think big. They overwhelmingly view
this part of the country as a national treasure, and believe that more than
half should be protected from industrial development," said Larry Innes, the
Executive Director of the Canadian Boreal Initiative. "The poll results
demonstrate that the public strongly supports Boreal protection, and they are
using it as a yardstick by which to measure government environmental
performance," added Innes.
    The results revealed that 87% of respondents are concerned about the
threats posed by industrial development, and 69% do not accept the argument
that protecting the Boreal is ineffectual in the face of forest fires and
pests such as the pine beetle. In fact, respondents overwhelmingly championed
increased protection for Canada's Boreal Forest.
    When asked to recommend how much of Canada's Boreal Forest should be
protected from industrial development, the average response across voting
preferences was 67%, with Conservative voters giving an average response of
61% and Liberals voters 69%. Currently, only 10% of Canada's Boreal Forest is
permanently protected. Last year, over 1,500 leading scientists recommended
that at least half of Canada's Boreal Forest be protected.
    Over the past year, the Governments of Canada and the NWT have set aside
nearly 140,000 square kilometres of Boreal Forest in the Northwest Territories
for new protection. This is one of the largest areas of wilderness ever
protected in Canadian history and one of the greatest conservation
achievements in North America. When provided with this information, close to
70% of respondents said that this action would have a positive impact on their
perception of the federal government, with nearly 90% of respondents wanting
to see more protection initiatives. Additional areas have been nominated for
protection across the Boreal Forest.
    "Clearly, Canadians support the leadership delivered by the federal and
territorial governments on protecting nature in the NWT. We hope that these
new findings will encourage Canada to proceed with other similar initiatives,
and provide incentives for provincial and territorial governments to move on
Boreal conservation in their jurisdictions," concluded Innes.
    The Boreal is one of the largest and most intact ecosystems on the
planet, and is home to billions of migratory birds, some of the largest
caribou herds on the planet, and many other wildlife species. It is a vital
storehouse of carbon and a major reservoir of the world's clean, fresh water.
The amount of development in the Boreal is accelerating, and the activities of
oil and gas exploration, mining, large scale forest harvesting and large
hydro-electric projects affect most Boreal regions today.

    About the McAllister Opinion Research/Canadian Boreal Initiative poll

    This research is based on a national random digit dial telephone survey
of 1007 Canadians aged 18 years and older. The survey was conducted in English
and French from April 29 to May 9, 2008 inclusive. The sample is weighed using
age, gender and regional population data from the 2006 Census. A random sample
of this size yields a +/- 3.1%, margin of error, 19 times out of 20.
    Detailed results of the survey can be viewed at

    About the Canadian Boreal Initiative

    The Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI) works with First Nations,
governments, conservation organizations, industry leaders and others to link
science, policy and conservation solutions across Canada's Boreal Forest. For
more information, please visit

    About McAllister Opinion Research

    McAllister Opinion Research, an accredited member of ESOMAR, has
conducted research in Canada, United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Our extensive experience covers all forms of field operation from telephone
polls and focus groups to online polls and web analytics. We use a range of
statistical methodologies to conduct both conventional analyses, as well as
advanced statistical procedures like network analysis, segmentation, factor
analysis and regression. McAllister takes a particular interest in
sustainability and environmental issues, directing the Canadian component of
the Globescan Environmental Monitor research program which has surveyed public
attitudes on environmental issues in over 25 countries and has tracked the
trends in Canada for nearly 20 years.

For further information:

For further information: Marie-Hélène Bachand, Canadian Boreal
Initiative/Edelman, (514) 844 6665, # 240,;
Source: Larry Innes, Executive Director, Canadian Boreal Initiative; Angus
McAllister, President and Chief Executive Officer,  McAllister Opinion

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