On World Rivers Day, time to step up and protect navigable waters

(OTTAWA) September 24, 2017 – The Green Party of Canada released the following statement on World Rivers Day:

“Despite the Liberals’ campaign promises, Canada’s rivers remain under threat, as 99 per cent of rivers and lakes are still without federal protection. The Liberals promised in 2015 to restore key protections under the Navigable Waters Protection Act, but now appear to be backtracking under the guise of balancing the environment with supposed economic stimulation.

“Yet it is Canada’s natural beauty that results in economic activity of billions of dollars a year through eco-tourism. In British Columbia, the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which would carry toxic diluted bitumen, remains a threat to seven provincial parks, 13 First Nations reserves, and 1,308 waterways in its path.

“For First Nations, Inuit and Métis, navigation of remote, unnamed rivers is a constitutionally protected right. Navigation falls exclusively under federal government authority, so no provincial government can protect rights of navigation. This means bridges, dams and obstructions of all kinds can be built on these vital bodies of freshwater without proper protection or assessment.

“Our rivers and freshwater are our lifeblood, and access to clean drinking water is a human right. On World Rivers Day, I urge all Canadians to contact their local Member of Parliament to demand the Liberals restore environmental protections as they promised.”