New Brunswickers Head to the Polls September 14th
AUGUST 26, 2020 — New Brunswick is heading into a general election on September 14th, 2020. With conservation commitments having been made both provincially and federally in the last year, it’s important to us here at Nature NB to know that our legislators are committed to meeting — and even exceeding — those targets.
Working together with the Nature Trust of New Brunswick, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – NB Chapter, and the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, we’ve sent the questions below to all Party Leaders across the province. We urge you to get in touch with your local incumbents and candidates to do the same.
1. What will you do to increase New Brunswick’s current 4.6% protected land for conservation to the international and national targets of 25% by 2025, and 30% by 2030?
Nature is important to New Brunswickers, and yet the province has only 4.6 percent of its land protected for nature conservation purposes. The current government committed to bring protected areas to 10% by 2020 but that still leaves 90% of the province’s land to be used for commercial and industrial purposes. New Brunswick has a low-cost opportunity to be a global leader in achieving the Government of Canada and internationally adopted targets for nature conservation. This should include the implementation of the Restigouche Wilderness Waterway protected area/park, making sure it strongly protects nature, and is done in consultation and partnership with Indigenous Peoples.
We need to develop and implement a New Brunswick strategy to achieve at least 25% protected lands for the province by 2025 and 35% by 2035, and a vision of how we progressively contribute more to protection, in light of nation-wide targets and the need to do our part to halt the biodiversity crisis.
2. What will you do to protect wetlands, buffers along streams, rivers, coastal habitats, and floodplains as well as healthy forests to protect us from flooding due to the changing climate?
Wetlands, buffer zones along streams and rivers, floodplains, and healthy forests all play a role in reducing the risk of flood damage to infrastructure and homes. Coastal developments have harmed many coastal systems, and made them less resilient to sea level rise and other changes. Maintaining these ecosystems will increase our resilience to the impacts from a changing climate. The government has developed a flood risk reduction strategy, a climate change plan, a water strategy, but none of these have ever been implemented in regulations. In addition, while the Municipalities Act and the Community Planning Act have been updated, we are still waiting for Provincial Statements of Interest that will allow for strong, overarching policy statements aimed at increasing our resiliency.
We need to develop strong regulations around wetlands, buffer zones, and water to reduce risks from climate change, and put in place strong Provincial Statements of Interest to guide future land use management.
3. What will you do to implement the provincial water strategy?
New Brunswick released a water strategy that includes the protection of all wetlands as important for water conservation and quality. No regulations have been developed so far to take the strategy beyond a policy document, nor has the proposed watershed protection legislation been introduced. The water strategy, if implemented in law, will provide clear direction as to protection for waters and wetlands in the province.
We need to develop strong laws to support the water strategy’s goals, and to protect our water resources and wetlands.
Links to 2020 Election Platforms
- Liberal Party of New Brunswick (see section “Accelerate a Sustainable Economy and Protect the Environment”)
- New Democrat Party of New Brunswick (see section “Growing the Economy and Protecting our Environment”)
- Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick (see sections “Conservation” and “Environment”)