Conservation Questions for Candidates in the 2015 Newfoundland and Labrador Election

1. Despite currently low oil and commodity prices, royalties from oil and gas and mineral development will still mean profits for the province for years to come. These developments continue to have impacts on our environment. If elected, will you invest a portion of these profits into a Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Trust, such as exists in other provinces, in order to fund conservation, remediation and stewardship in the province?

2. The previous federal government weakened environmental legislation, such as habitat protection under the Fisheries Act, cut programs such as the Canadian Environmental Network that engaged and encouraged citizen involvement in environmental monitoring, and reduced environmental research and protection in this province. If your party forms the next provincial government what concrete steps will you take to work with federal and municipal levels and citizens to identify and fix shortfalls in environmental monitoring and protection?

3. Wetlands are crucial to flood control, clean water and healthy habitats, and are also a major source of stored soil carbon. If your party forms the next government will it produce and implement a wetlands policy that protects these sensitive areas from development and degradation? 

4. Sustainable forest management continues to be a key part of provincial conservation efforts. What measures will your government take to ensure that the Provincial Sustainable Forest Management Strategy 2014-2024 is fully implemented at the district level, and that adequate habitat is maintained for caribou and Newfoundland marten populations?

5. Earth is experiencing a massive decline in wildlife species and populations. Protection of species at risk and sensitive wildlife habitat has been legislated in the province, but we continue to see a decline in key species, in part because of insufficient resources and slowness in developing and implementing recovery strategies for species identified as being at risk. How will your government address species at risk protection in this province?

6. Under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, Canada and the provinces have undertaken, by 2020, to conserve at least 17 percent of terrestrial areas and inland waters, and 10 percent of coastal and marine areas. This is to be done through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures. What will your government do to ensure that the parks and protected natural areas of Newfoundland and Labrador meet or exceed the CBD protected areas targets?

7. Conservation groups in this province have advocated for a National Marine Conservation Area on the South Coast, with the aim of protecting critical habitat for a variety of species. Parks Canada has agreed to cooperate in a feasibility study. If elected, will your government take the lead in working with the Government of Canada toward establishing a National Marine Conservation Area on our South Coast?