April 22nd, 2013

NDP takes action to protect waterways from Conservative attacks

OTTAWA – In a move designed to urge the Conservatives to reverse reckless changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, the NDP has launched a campaign to restore protection to all of Canada’s lakes and rivers, starting with the Canadian Heritage Rivers, by introducing ten private member’s bills.

“Canada’s lakes and rivers are a public resource that must be protected for future generations. The Canadian Heritage Rivers are iconic symbols of our Canadian history, culture and identity,” said NDP Environment critic Megan Leslie (Halifax). “Despite the Conservatives’ short-sighted legislation which will benefit their friends and have a detrimental impact on the environment, the NDP is determined to do everything in our power to protect them.”

Since the 1880s the Navigable Waters Protection Act has required that any works that could affect the navigation of Canada’s lakes and rivers undergo a strict environmental assessment. However, changes made to the Act by the Conservatives in the omnibus budget bill mean that fewer than two percent of Canada’s waterways are now protected.

“The Conservative government has failed to reinforce environmental protections, choosing instead to gut existing laws,” said NDP Fisheries and Oceans critic Robert Chisholm (Dartmouth – Cole Harbour). “These measures put our lakes and rivers at risk for unbridled, unregulated development, which will compromise the interests of cottagers, boaters, recreational fishers, municipalities, First Nations, and more.”