This election CPAWS is taking unprecedented action to put Yukon’s environment first

WHITEHORSE, YT – October 12, 2016

With an election slated for November 7th, CPAWS Yukon and the Yukon Conservation Society are making sure that Yukon voters know where the political parties stand on the environment when they cast their votes. The Executive Directors of both organizations held a joint press conference on the waterfront of the Yukon River on Wednesday to unveil their plans for ensuring that environmental issues are front-of-mind for voters and election candidates. 

“The outcome of this election will have major consequences for the Yukon’s environment”, said Chris Rider, Executive Director at CPAWS Yukon. “The fate of the Peel Watershed is in the balance, along with plans to help do our part to prevent catastrophic climate change. There are so many environmental issues that are on the table right now, which is why CPAWS Yukon and YCS are doing everything we can to ensure Yukoners are fully informed.”

The two conservation organizations have sent a doorhanger to every household in the territory – and that is just the beginning of their non-partisan voter outreach and education efforts this fall. The doorhangers speak to one of the Yukon’s contested wild places: the Peel Watershed. Each doorhanger says ‘I’m voting for the Peel’ on the front side, with suggested questions on the back for the public to ask their local candidates. The environmental groups are asking Yukoners to hang it on their door handle to show candidates who come knocking that the Peel is an election issue.

Beyond the Peel Watershed, Yukoners care deeply about sustaining the northern way of life by taking strong action on climate change and protecting wildlife and habitat from unsustainable development. The environmental groups are undertaking several initiatives to raise these issues with candidates and share the results.

First, the environmental groups are hosting an All-Party Election Forum on the Environment on Tuesday October 18th, 7-9pm. CPAWS and YCS are consulting with a wide range of environmental organizations to put together the forum questions, and the audience will also have an opportunity to ask candidates questions. The event will be held at the Beringia Centre and will be live-streamed online to allow Yukoners outside of Whitehorse to participate. Four registered political parties –Yukon Green Party, Yukon Liberals, Yukon NDP and Yukon Party – will be participating in the forum.

Second, a questionnaire on Yukon environmental issues has been distributed to the four political parties and the responses will be publicized in print and online.

Finally, volunteers with CPAWS Yukon and YCS will be going door to door asking Yukoners about the environmental issues that are most important to them this election and sharing the political parties’ responses to the questionnaire. This initiative will help Yukoners share their priorities and learn about the parties’ environmental platforms.

“In 2016 the environment is more important than ever,” said Christina Macdonald, Executive Director of YCS. “New research shows that the world has lost a tenth of its wilderness in the past 25 years and that no new fossil fuel reserves can be developed if we want to avoid the worst impacts of climate warming. It’s time to prioritize our environment and make choices to live more sustainably on the land. We are asking the territory’s political leaders to put forth meaningful solutions to our environmental problems so that we can share these with Yukon voters.”

The Yukon Conservation Society is a grassroots environmental non-profit organization, established in 1968. YCS pursues ecosystem well-being in the Yukon through advocacy, research, and environmental education, recognizing that human well-being is ultimately dependent upon fully functioning healthy ecosystems.

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is Canada’s only nationwide environmental charity dedicated solely to the protection of our public land and water, and ensuring our parks are managed to protect the nature within them. The Yukon chapter provides a voice for the wilderness in the territory, helping to keep Canada’s ‘true’ north wild and free.

For more information please contact:

Christina Macdonald
Executive Director
Yukon Conservation Society

Chris Rider
Executive Director