Federal candidates respond to Lake Winnipeg questions
Fresh water matters to us, and we know it matters to our members and supporters.
In the lead-up to Canada’s election, we wanted to learn more about how federal parties and candidates plan to address the challenges facing Lake Winnipeg.
We sent four questions – focused on solutions for Lake Winnipeg – to all Manitoba candidates representing the four federal parties running a full slate. We also contacted each party’s national headquarters.
Canada currently has an $88 billion water infrastructure deficit (Our Living Waters Call to Action for the Next Government of Canada). Increasingly frequent extreme weather events caused by a changing climate are introducing additional uncertainties and costs. The City of Winnipeg’s North End Water Pollution Control Centre, immediately upstream of Lake Winnipeg, is the fourth-largest phosphorus polluter among all wastewater treatment facilities in Canada (National Pollutant Release Inventory, Environment Canada) and costs for much-needed upgrades continue to rise. How will your party address Canada’s water infrastructure deficit to protect our fresh water in the context of a changing climate?
Across the vast prairie landscape that drains into Lake Winnipeg, approximately 17.5 hectares of wetland habitat are destroyed every day (Ducks Unlimited Canada). Without these natural ecosystems to act as filters for melt and storm water, excess nutrients continue to flow unchecked into Lake Winnipeg, causing harmful algae blooms. Wetland destruction also exacerbates drought and flooding at enormous cost. In 2011 alone, flood-related costs in Manitoba exceeded $1.2 billion (Manitoba 2011 Flood Review Task Force Report). A strong, coordinated approach to wetland protection is necessary in the Prairie provinces. With the health of Lake Winnipeg at stake, time is of the essence; leadership is critical in the next four years. How will your party ensure wetland protection is in place by 2019?
The current federal investment in Lake Winnipeg is $18 million over five years, $7.4 million of which was administered through the Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund (Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative, Environment Canada). This funding is insufficient, as evidenced by the fact that the fund – intended to last until 2017 – ran out of money in early 2015. How much more will your party invest in new research and coordinated regional solutions to address the root causes of harmful algae blooms in Lake Winnipeg?
Strong leadership is necessary to protect Lake Winnipeg and to ensure our solutions are commensurate with the scale of the problem. LWF’s Lake Winnipeg Health Plan includes eight concrete, sector-specific actions to restore Lake Winnipeg (The Lake Winnipeg Foundation). Guided by the scientific advice of nationally recognized freshwater researchers, it is now being realized in partnership with conservation organizations, industry associations, educational institutions and community groups. The Lake Winnipeg Health Plan is a vehicle for collaborative action. Will you support this plan? How?
Where do our future federal leaders stand on Lake Winnipeg?
To help you make an informed decision on Oct. 19, we’re now sharing what we learned.
In total, we sent out 58 inquiries. We received responses from 15 individual candidates – eight running for the Liberal Party and seven running for the Green Party – and from one party, the Green Party.
Edit: Subsequent to our initial deadline, we received responses from an additional three candidates – one running for the New Democratic Party and two running for the Green Party – and from two additional parties, the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party.
Below, we’ve listed the names of all candidates we contacted. Those in bold responded to our questions. We did not edit any responses and are sharing what we received in the format in which we received it.
Click on a bolded name to read the candidate’s response.
David Neufeld (Green Party)
Larry Maguire (Conservative Party)
Melissa Wastasecoot (New Democratic Party)
Jodi Wyman (Liberal Party)
Steven Fletcher (Conservative Party)
Niki Ashton (New Democratic Party)
Rebecca Chartrand (Liberal Party)
Laverne Lewycky (New Democratic Party)
Robert Sopuck (Conservative Party)
Lawrence Toet (Conservative Party)
Jim Bell (Conservative Party)
Suzanne Hrynyk (New Democratic Party)
MaryAnn Mihychuk (Liberal Party)
Steven Stairs (Green Party)
Candace Bergen (Conservative Party)
Dean Harder (New Democratic Party)
Ken Werbiski (Liberal Party)
Ted Falk (Conservative Party)
Terry Hayward (Liberal Party)
Les Lilley (New Democratic Party)
Saint Boniface-Saint Vital
François Catellier (Conservative Party)
Erin Selby (New Democratic Party)
Glenn Zaretski (Green Party)
James Bezan (Conservative Party)
Deborah Chief (New Democratic Party)
Joanne Levy (Liberal Party)
Pat Martin (New Democratic Party)
Allie Szarkiewicz (Conservative Party)
Don Woodstock (Green Party)
Levy Abad (New Democratic Party)
Kevin Lamoureux (Liberal Party)
Harpreet Turka (Conservative Party)
Gordon Giesbrecht (Conservative Party)
Brianne Goertzen (New Democratic Party)
Winnipeg South Centre
Joyce Bateman (Conservative Party)
Matt Henderson (New Democratic Party)
No response from your candidate?
Feel free to use our questions to reach out to those running in your riding. (If you get a response, let us know!)
Want to learn more about what Canada’s political parties are saying about Lake Winnipeg and fresh water? Follow the links below.