Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski is taking the federal government to task following a United Nations report that expressed concern over the state of Wood Buffalo National Park, a tract of land in northern Alberta that is critical buffalo and whooping crane habitat.
The UN’s World Heritage Committee recently delivered a report at a global meeting in Azerbaijan, noting that the park could potentially be added to a list of sites in danger due to increasing oilsands developments and the Site C dam project in the Peace River region.
“UNESCO’s findings should be a wake-up call for the Liberal government,” said Stetski, who serves as the NDP National Parks Critic. “Continued expansion of the oilsands threatens our natural heritage and the climate. We must protect both for our future generations. It would be an international embarrassment if Wood Buffalo National Park loses its World Heritage Status because of this Liberal government’s inaction.”
The park, designated a World Heritage Site in the 1980s, is being reviewed by UNESCO after a request from the Mikisew Cree First Nation.
The UN report cited concerns over the Site C dam and other projects on the Peace River, along with potential impacts stemming from the development of 47 proposed oilsands projects.
“Considerably more effort will be needed to reverse the negative trends, at a time when climate change combined with upstream industrial developments and resource extraction are intensifying,” reads a report from the World Heritage Committee.
Linda Duncan, the NDP deputy critic for Environment and Climate Change, also took aim at the federal government.
“As Canada seeks World Heritage Site designation for additional deserving sites, including Writing On Stone Provincial Park in southern Alberta, UNESCO will understandably be querying the credibility of this government to commit the resources needed to genuinely protect a world heritage site,” added NDP Deputy Critic for Environment and Climate Change Linda Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona).
An NDP press release pledged to protect 30% of Canada’s land, freshwater, and oceans by 2030 and to back those protections with funding and enforcement.