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Speech

Speaking notes for
The Honourable Peter Kent, P.C., M.P.,
at the Canadian Wildlife Federation's Celebration
for 50 Years of Conservation
Ottawa, Ontario
November 7, 2012

Good evening,

It is a pleasure for me to be here this evening to join you in celebrating 50 years of the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

Canada is world renown for our natural wilderness, abundant fresh water and breathtaking vistas.

Canadians, both urban and rural, have a profound appreciation of our natural heritage. This fact is evident through the over 300,000 members of the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

Our government shares this love of our pristine places and commitment to its protection. Since 2006, we have provided strong leadership in water and air quality monitoring and standards... in protecting endangered species and of our nation's rich biodiversity... in land conservation through the creation of a record number of new parks.

In fact, we have doubled the amount of land protected in our National Parks system. One of the projects I am most excited about is the Rouge National Urban Park in the Greater Toronto Area.

At 10 times the size of Manhattan's Central Park, the "people's park" will be in the immediate proximity of 20 percent of Canada's population. The park has a rich diversity of natural and cultural heritage resources, including: a rare Carolinian forest and numerous species at risk.

Another success story is the Natural Areas Conservation Program. In 2007 our government invested $225 million dollars to help non-profit, non-governmental organizations leverage private dollars to secure ecologically sensitive lands to ensure the protection of our diverse ecosystems, wildlife and habitat.

To date this program has secured over 338,000 hectares of land.

One key example is the Flathead River Valley where over 160,000 hectares of land in southeast British Columbia has been protected by permanently prohibiting coal mining as well as exploration and development of oil, gas and mineral resources.

This land is home to the greatest density of Grizzly Bears as well as 70 mammal species, 270 bird species, 25 fish species and 1,200 species of vascular plants.

As you can see, we have much to be proud of and much work to do together to protect our environment for future generations.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to congratulate the Canadian Wildlife Federation on celebrating 50 years of informing, educating and inspiring Canadians to explore and protect our natural environment.

Thank you.