The next Federal election is about a year away, but it appears the campaign may have already started, at least in rural Canada and places like Sault Ste. Marie.
Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, who made a surprise visit to the Sault Friday to discuss conservation and gun control is trying to secure votes early in riding’s that are anything but a “sure thing” That says political pundits who question why the Prime Minister was in the Sault for a Question and Answer session with Angelo Lombardo, Executive Director of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today participated in a moderated question and answer (Q&A) session at Algoma’s Water Tower Inn & Suites with Angelo Lombardo, Executive Director of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. The Prime Minister was joined by Bryan Hayes, Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie, Robert Sopuck, Member of Parliament for Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette, and Jay Aspin, Member of Parliament for Nipissing-Timiskaming.
During the Q&A session, the Prime Minister discussed the Government’s ongoing support for Canadian families living in rural areas and the hunting and angling community in Northern Ontario and across the country.
The Prime Minister highlighted the different measures that the Government is taking under the National Conservation Plan (NCP) to support hunters and anglers across the country. He announced that the fourth window of applications under the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program (RFCPP) is now open and underscored the investments the Government has made under this program since its inception. He also announced that Environment Canada is now accepting applications for projects under the second round of the National Wetland Conservation Fund (NWCF).
The National Conservation Plan (NCP), which was a commitment made in the 2013 Speech from the Throne, is one of the many initiatives the Government has undertaken to protect Canada’s natural heritage for the benefit of future generations. It provides a more coordinated approach to conservation efforts across the country with an emphasis on enabling Canadians to conserve and restore lands and waters in and around their communities, and making it easier for citizens living in cities to connect with nature. It complements significant efforts, including creating new parks, protecting ecologically sensitive lands, protecting species at risk and their habitat, and improving water quality.
The National Wetland Conservation Fund (NWCF), which is part of the National Conservation Plan, supports projects that restore degraded or lost wetlands, enhance degraded wetlands, scientifically assess and monitor the health and functionality of wetlands and the species that use them, and encourage stewardship and wetland appreciation by a wide variety of partners to build support for future wetland conservation and restoration activities. The first call for proposals under this program was issued in July 2014 and generated significant interest. A call for proposals for projects to be undertaken in 2015-16 was posted online on October 17, 2014, and proposals will be accepted until November 21, 2014.
Canada has approximately 1.5 million km2 of wetlands, representing about 16 per cent of Canada’s land mass and approximately one quarter of the world’s remaining wetlands. The restoration and enhancement of Canada’s wetlands will create new habitats or improve existing ones for a variety of species, including migratory waterfowl. This in turn may lead to increased hunting opportunities for the 180,000 Canadians who purchase migratory game bird permits annually.
The Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program (RFCPP) was established in June 2013 to support projects aimed at improving the conservation of recreational fisheries habitat. The program brings partners together and pools their resources to support the common goal of conserving and protecting Canada’s recreational fisheries.
“Our Government is committed to working closely with Canadians so that together we can provide effective stewardship of Canada’s rich natural heritage for present and future generations. Today’s meeting with rural Canadians and hunting and angling community representatives provided an excellent opportunity to discuss our Government’s ongoing support for these communities, and how we can work together to protect Canada’s oceans, lakes and rivers for future generations.” Said Harper.
Watch the video for a small snippet of the 45 minute Q&A