February 8, 2023

Remarks at Wilder Institute Reception

Ottawa, ON

6:30 P.M. EST

GEORGE CHAHAL, M.P.: Hello everyone and thank you for joining us this evening!

I'm so thrilled to be here, surrounded by friends and colleagues who are passionate about wildlife conservation. Dr. Lanthier, your work with the Wilder Institute is truly inspiring. Thank you for being here to share your expertise and passion. A quick round of applause for Dr. Lanthier. (Applause)

The Wilder Institute's approach to wildlife reintroduction and community conservation is a game changer in the world of biodiversity conservation. They are leading the way in Canada and showing us all how we can make a real difference. Our Liberal government has also made huge strides in supporting wildlife conservation. Under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's leadership, we've seen two of the largest investments in nature conservation in Canadian history – $1.3 billion in Budget 2018 and $3.3 billion in Budget 2021. These investments will help us protect a quarter of our lands and marine areas by 2025. And we're already seeing results.

In October 2020, the Governments of Canada and Alberta reached an agreement to conserve and recover woodland caribou in Alberta. I was at the Calgary Zoo with my daughters in the summer, just a couple of weeks before another baby girl caribou was born in the Canadian Wilds exhibit, to proud parents Vanilla and Kirby. As a fellow parent to three daughters, a trip to the Zoo is an awesome opportunity to teach them about Alberta’s incredible biodiversity right in our own backyard. This is of course just one example of the shared work our government and the Wilder Institute are doing to protect our wildlife.

In December, Canada gathered the world to Montreal for COP15, the UN’s conference on protecting biodiversity. Under our leadership, 196 countries signed a historic global biodiversity framework. It outlines a global pathway to halt & reverse the global loss of biodiversity by 2030 and to protect 30% of land & water on the planet by 2030. It includes financing for developed countries to conserve rare ecosystems & endangered species – a space where Wilder has shown leadership.

But COP15 wasn’t just a win for Canada on the world stage. At COP15 in Montreal last December, our government signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the recognition of the Seal River Watershed in Manitoba as an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area and announced $800 million for Indigenous-led conservation projects. These efforts are inclusive and collaborative, and truly embody the spirit of what conservation should be. It’s the kind of work that brings stakeholders like the Wilder Institute to the forefront, utilizing their expertise to put forward responsible policy.

So, to Senator Karen Sorenson and Dr. Clement Lanthier, thank you for sharing your insights and perspectives on the importance of inclusive and irresistible conservation efforts. Your contributions have been invaluable. And to everyone here tonight, I hope this message has inspired you to think about what you can do to support wildlife conservation. I encourage you to talk to a member of the Wilder Institute team, who are here wearing green Wilder name tags. They would love to tell you more about their work and how you can get involved.

Thank you again for being here, and for your ongoing support of the Wilder Institute and their mission to protect and preserve biodiversity in Canada and beyond.


Office of George Chahal, M.P.

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