Elizabeth May calls for emergency debate on threat to marine life in Gulf of St. Lawrence

October 01, 2018

OTTAWA – Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands) has asked House of Commons Speaker Geoff Regan to convene an emergency debate on new scientific research that has identified a serious threat to all marine life in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

“The report on this research provides truly shocking reading,” said Ms. May. “The authors say that the results ‘provide strong evidence that a major, centennial-scale change of the Labrador Current is underway.’ They confirm that the rapid loss of oxygen in the Gulf of St. Lawrence could lead to the loss of all marine life in the gulf.

“The environmental impacts of such a global disaster are enormous,” said Ms. May. “The Gulf of St. Lawrence is one of the richest marine ecosystems on earth – home of endangered whales, endangered leatherback turtles and many other species. The gulf’s rich fisheries and tourism value create billions of dollars of wealth in the region. Indeed, jobs and the economy of five provinces are at risk, from Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.”

In her letter to Speaker Regan seeking an emergency debate on the issue, Ms. May said that urgent action is needed to protect the life of the Gulf.

“Yet, we are actually seeing further risks being taken, such as the plan to run a pipe carrying polluted waters from the mill in Pictou to the Northumberland Strait. The awareness of the study’s findings is dangerously low.  Under our standing rules, this is clearly a genuine emergency calling for immediate and urgent consideration.”

If the Speaker approves Ms. May’s request, the House will go to emergency debate until midnight either Tuesday or Wednesday.