The Green Party of Canada is pleased to celebrate World Wetlands Day on February 2nd, which recognizes the date in 1971 when an important and unique international treaty, the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, was signed in Ramsar, Iran. Also known as the Ramsar Convention, it is the only global treaty dealing with a particular ecosystem, including lakes, rivers, swamps, and wet grasslands.
“Among the more than 160 signatories nations to the Ramsar Convention, Canada has the largest area of wetlands – about 25 percent of the world’s total,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands.
“Because these natural systems help purify water, prevent flooding, provide habitat, and, probably most important, store carbon, we owe it to ourselves and the world to protect them. Sadly, the Harper Conservatives are doing the opposite,” added May.
May pointed out a number of recent changes to Canadian laws which will have a negative impact on our wetlands: the gutting of the Fisheries Act so that it now protects certain fish rather than all habitat; the destruction of the Environmental Assessment Act, and replacing the Navigable Waters Protection Act with the Navigation Protection Act – which now protects only 65 rivers and 97 lakes across Canada from development.
At the same time, Stephen Harper’s plans to aggressively expand the oil sands will further destroy the great peatlands of northern Alberta. Contrary to Conservative and oil industry assurances, top scientists have revealed that these plundered lands can never be restored.