Thursday, April 25, 2013

Cons leave Labrador watersheds vulnerable; another example of disgraceful fisheries management

video

I presented the following Private Member's Bill this morning (April 25th) in the House of Commons. Below is my 45-second introduction, followed by the news release.

STATEMENT

This bill is designed to protect Labrador watersheds.

Changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act mean only a handful of the millions of lakes and rivers in Canada will now be protected.

NONE in Labrador – NO rivers or lakes in Labrador - will be protected.

Which means projects that could affect navigation, projects that could affect habitat and the passage of fish, can proceed without the permit that once would have been required.

Newfoundland and Labrador has more than 60 per cent of North America’s best Atlantic salmon rivers, with some rivers having annual runs of up to 30,000 fish.

But that’s nothing compared to the salmon runs of decades ago.

Labrador’s commercial salmon fishery has been shut down since the early 1990s because of low returns and now the Conservatives are going to put our rivers – our salmon, what we have left – in further jeopardy.

The Conservative government should be ashamed of itself.

Its management of the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery has been disgraceful and this is another slap in the face.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 25, 2013


CLEARY TABLES LEGISLATION TO PROTECT LABRADOR WATERSHEDS

OTTAWA – As part of the NDP’s campaign to restore protection of waterways across the country — seriously compromised by Conservative changes to the  Navigable Waters Protection Act — New Democrat MP Ryan Cleary (St. John's South-Mount Pearl) introduced a Private Member’s Bill in the House of Commons today to restore protection to all Labrador watersheds.

“All the watersheds in Labrador were left unprotected after the Conservatives gutted the legislation protecting navigable waters in Canada,” Cleary said. “In order to ensure the survival of the Big Land’s aquatic ecosystem, and the survival of the recreational sports fishery that depends on it, I’ve tabled a bill to re-establish that protection.”

Since the 1880s, the Navigable Waters Protection Act 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 their latest omnibus budget bill mean that few of Canada’s waterways are now protected. Cleary’s bill would put Labrador’s 12 watersheds back under the Act.

“Less than two per cent of waterways across the country remain protected under the Act. New Democrats are committed to holding government accountable for this blatant neglect and disregard of the environment,” said Cleary. “I am proud to stand up for Labrador and its watersheds.”

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