Mr. Speaker, this Conservative government has developed a bad habit of gutting environmental protection in my riding of Esquimalt – Juan de Fuca and across Canada. Last year in Bill C-38, this government eliminated protection for all streams, rivers and lakes on Vancouver Island under the Navigable Waters Protection Act.
In response to the concerns of my constituents, I introduced Bill C-509 to restore federal environmental protection to the Goldstream River. It is the Goldstream River where local salmon begin their life and return to spawn. Thousands of visitors come to Goldstream Park each year to watch the spawning and to learn about salmon fisheries in the school outdoor education programs that take place in the park.
A tragic accident on April 18, 2011 demonstrated how fragile this river is and the extent of the impact that accidents such as oil spills impose on iconic rivers like the Goldstream.
Mr. Speaker, I’m asking the Conservative government to reconsider their short-sighted plan to gut protection of our rivers and lakes on Vancouver Island and support my bill to protect Goldstream River and the salmon and other wildlife that rely on it.