In late August, the Newfoundland and Labrador Environment Network sent a questionnaire to each of the parties requesting their positions on a number of issues: protected area establishment, forestry and mining practices, wetland protection, food security, and investment in environmental protection and education.
“One of the encouraging results is a commitment from all three parties to complete our provincial protected area network,” stated Chris Hogan of the NLEN. “This makes us wonder why we haven’t seen more progress in the past, as we lag well behind most provinces in relation to land protection. The next government can take confidence in the fact that there is all-party support for creation of more protected areas, and that residents are awaiting action.”
The questionnaire revealed clearly different policy positions regarding the controversial practice of using freshwater bodies as impoundments for mine tailings. The NDP indicate their support for a ban on this practice, while the PCs point to the fact that in the case of Sandy Pond, the project has successfully passed environmental assessment.
The three parties have weighed in with a myriad of policies to strengthen food security in the province, however only the Liberal Party has committed specifically to creating a Food Security Strategy in consultation with stakeholders. All parties have committed to growing the local agrifood industry, both with primary production and secondary processing, to better serve the needs of the local population. Unfortunately, there was barely a mention of specific plans to promote environmentally responsible farm production practices. Only the PCs make reference to support for organic farmers.
The NLEN gratefully acknowledges the effort made by each party to prepare responses to the policy questionnaire. A report summarizing the questionnaire responses “Voting for the environment — A review of party policies on environmental issues” can be found at www.nlen.ca.
For further information contact:
Donald Quigley, Executive Director
Northeast Avalon Atlantic Coastal Action Program