(OTTAWA) February 6, 2018 — A statement in support of the substantial improvements made to the Fisheries Act in the government bill tabled today. Under omnibus budget bills from 2012, the Conservative government gutted environmental protections surrounding fish habitats.
“I am delighted to see this government deliver on its commitment to restore protections to fish habitats across the country,” said Elizabeth May. “The bill’s heavy emphasis on science is to be applauded. The inherent value of fish and fish habitats have finally been restored, leading towards a sustainable way of managing this vital part of our environment.
“An Indigenous governance body can now be in charge of its own fisheries, expanding jurisdictional authority beyond the federal government in this area. I would love to see this as an important step on the path to reconciliation, and towards strengthening Canada’s nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples.
“I was hoping to see reference to aquaculture in the bill, however. There is a conflict of interest around aquaculture in the Fisheries Act, and it disappoints me that this issue was not addressed. On the whole, this bill is a very welcome change.
“If the changes the government will present on the National Energy Board, Impact Assessment and Navigable Waters acts are as progressive as this bill, then we will applaud the government for fixing what Harper broke,” concluded Ms. May.