September 24, 2014 / OTTAWA – Today, on National Tree Day, NDP MP Irene Mathyssen (London-Fanshawe) introduced a Private Members’ Motion calling on the government to establish an Urban Forestry Strategy.

“Urban forests impact 85% of Canadians, yet we lag behind other G7 countries in the value we place on them,” said Mathyssen. “In the United States, management of urban forests falls under a responsibility equivalent to that of a Canadian deputy minister. Here in Canada, we lead the world in the destruction of our forests. It’s a shame, and we can do better.”

M-536 lists six objectives, including an affirmation of the leadership role of the federal government in urban forest knowledge, management, and protection. It also ensures collaboration between all levels of government, the private sector, individual property owners and NGOs in preserving, promoting and protecting Canadian urban forests.

London, Ontario – known as the “Forest City” – introduced a municipal urban strategy document for consideration earlier this summer. “I am encouraged by the forward-thinking of my home community on this issue,” said Mathyssen. “With the bounty of natural resources we have in Canadian urban forests, we should be on the forefront of preserving them before it’s too late.”

In support of Mathyssen’s initiative, the President of Tree Canada, Michael Rosen, stated “With over 80% of Canadians living in urban areas, we applaud any action that supports a National Urban Forest Strategy. This is an important environmental initiative for Canada and we encourage all parties to support this motion.”

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