How will the government protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, for more than 30 years, every federal government in this country and every prime minister regardless of political stripe has stood up to defend the Canadian interests in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Trump administration, through a GOP budget bill, is now proposing to reopen the issue with the threat of oil and gas development on the U.S. side of the shared territory of the Gwich’in, where they depend on the porcupine caribou and the porcupine caribou depend on those calving grounds.

Can the Minister of Environment tell us what steps the government is taking to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?

Catherine McKenna – Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, Canada absolutely supports conservation of the habitat of the porcupine caribou herd and is opposed to any development of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. We certainly oppose opening these areas to resource development. I have been very clear in my discussions with the U.S. administration as has our entire government.

We recently hosted an event at our embassy in Washington, D.C. where a united Canadian position consisting of the federal, tribal, and territorial governments jointly discussed the importance of the porcupine caribou herd for the Gwich’in people and other indigenous people in the Yukon and Northwest Territories, and our clear opposition to development in critical habitat areas like the Arctic refuge and the 1002 Area.