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Canada’s election: Lake Winnipeg needs immediate attention

Despite decades of government commitments, Lake Winnipeg’s health continues to decline. 

In the leadup to Canada’s election on Sept. 20, the Lake Winnipeg Foundation and the Lake Winnipeg Indigenous Collective are reminding federal candidates that promises are not enough. It’s time for immediate action that generates measurable results. 

WHAT WE’RE DOING: 

Together, LWF and LWIC have released a plan for federal action: Five Things the Federal Government Must Do for Lake Winnipeg. This road map identifies specific, concrete actions achievable in less than five years to achieve real impact for Lake Winnipeg. 

We’ve also reached out to the candidates from Canada’s four main federal parties who are running in Manitoba’s 14 ridings, asking them the following three questions: 

1. Since 2008, the federal government has made dedicated financial investments for Lake Winnipeg. These investments have enabled phosphorus-reduction initiatives, as well as research and monitoring to improve water quality in Lake Winnipeg. The current federal funding commitment, Phase 3 of the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program, will end in March 2022.  
 
Will you and your party renew the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program in Budget 2022? If not, please explain why you and your party aren’t making this commitment. 

2. Too often, the scale of Lake Winnipeg’s watershed serves as an excuse for inaction or as an explanation for ineffective efforts. In reality, efforts have simply lacked relevant evidence to ensure their success. The Lake Winnipeg Community-Based Monitoring Network (LWCBMN) is a collaborative, long-term monitoring program designed specifically to target phosphorus hotspots to ensure phosphorus-reduction projects funded by the federal government generate results.  
 
Will you and your party commit to using LWCBMN data to target federal dollars to phosphorus hotspots? If not, please explain why you and your party aren’t making this commitment. 

3. Indigenous peoples have, over hundreds of generations, developed Indigenous Knowledge specific to Lake Winnipeg. As with written knowledge systems, rigorous and well-maintained processes are critical to generate, verify, and share Indigenous Knowledge. Knowledge holders’ ceremonies and protocols require many years of practice and strict adherence to maintain the integrity of Indigenous Knowledge. Just as scientists require resources to gather and synthesize the data that inform policy and management, so too do knowledge holders. Yet there remains a severe lack of balance in supports provided to Indigenous systems of knowledge. 
 
Will you and your party establish and fund an Indigenous-led task force to ensure meaningful inclusion of Indigenous Knowledge in all future reporting and public policy processes for Lake Winnipeg? If not, please explain why you and your party aren’t making this commitment. 

To assist voters in making an informed decision, we’ll be publishing all responses we receive on our website on Sept. 13. Update: all responses are now posted on our website.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: 

Tell your candidates to read our plan: Five Things the Federal Government Must Do for Lake Winnipeg. 

Ask your candidates what immediate actions they/their parties will take to achieve measurable results. (Not sure who’s running in your area? More information is available on Election Canada’s website.) 

Get active online: Follow LWF on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and follow the Lake Winnipeg Indigenous Collective on Facebook and Instagram. Then, like and share our posts to help spread the message! 

Lake Winnipeg needs immediate attention. This election, join us in speaking out for action. 

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