A poll commissioned by the Wilderness Committee shows that 70 per cent of Manitobans moderately or strongly support banning industrial activities like logging and mining that are currently permitted in some provincial parks.
Thirty-seven per cent of Manitobans surveyed said they strongly supported such a ban, while another third of respondents expressed moderate support. Twenty per cent of those surveyed moderately opposed such a ban and one in 10 respondents strongly opposed it.
“From our years of working to preserve provincial parks we know people want nature in our parks protected, and this poll result confirms that,” said Eric Reder of the Wilderness committee in a press release. “Now we need the Manitoba government to demonstrate they care for our environment and permanently protect our parks.”
Support for a ban was strongest in Winnipeg, where 78 per cent of respondents were in favour overall, while in rural areas the total support was 61 per cent. Women supported an industrial activity ban more than men – 75 per cent to 66 per cent – while people aged 35 to 54 were the strongest supporters at 72 per cent, compared to 68 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 and 66 per cent of those 55 and older.
The Wilderness Committee says Whiteshell, Nopiming, Duck Mountain and Grass River provincial parks are threatened by ongoing mineral exploration. Duck Mountain Provincial Park is one of only two parks in Canada that have commercial logging occurring, the committee says.
“The wildlife and wilderness that Manitobans cherish are at risk because of this antiquated legislation, which allows logging and mining in parks,” said Reder. “Industrial activity in parks is a shameful desecration of the nature we love.”
The Wilderness Committee wants Manitoba to ban new mining in parks and remove Duck Mountain Provincial Park from Louisiana-Pacific’s logging tenure area when the company’s environmental licence expires in 2019.
“We know how to stop this ongoing travesty and Manitobans are ready to support action,” said Reder. “The government must follow this mandate.”