Please see the statement below released by Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich–Gulf Islands, on World Rivers Day 2023.
“Today is World Rivers Day! Rivers are givers of life. They ensure the continued survival of communities across Canada. However, the survival of our rivers has been strained by unsustainable human activities. The increasingly pronounced effects of climate change are leading to the overheating of rivers, devastating aquatic ecosystems and their fish populations. Many jurisdictions continue to permit small-scale bulk exports of bottled water. The Athabasca River has been severely impacted by toxic outpouring from the oil sands, mirroring other environmental catastrophes like the supercharging of the Bow River in 2013 by unprecedented levels of rainfall.
The federal government must embrace its duties to protect freshwater sources across the country. While the creation of a Canada Water Agency is a good step, there remain countless threats to rivers and other freshwater systems in Canada. Please watch my press conference from earlier this year with Algonquin Chiefs, where we demanded the federal government cancel its plans to construct a near surface disposal facility for radioactive waste by the Kichi Sibi/Ottawa River. We must embrace sustainable stewardship of rivers that centers Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge.”