(Photo above: MPs Craig Scott & Matthew Kellway taking part in Paddle the Don -May 5, 2013)
OTTAWA - Today, Craig Scott, MP for Toronto-Danforth, tabled a bill to protect the Don River. The bill, seconded by fellow Toronto NDP MPs Matthew Kellway (Beaches-East York), Olivia Chow (Trinity-Spadina) and Andrew Cash (Davenport), is part of the NDP’s campaign to reverse the gutting of the Navigable Waters Protection Act by the Conservative government.
“The NDP is determined to do everything in our power to protect Canada’s lakes and rivers. And that includes the Don River, from its source 28km north of Toronto in the Oak Ridges Moraine to its Lake Ontario mouth here in our riding of Toronto-Danforth. The historic Don – and the Don Valley through which it flows – is an iconic symbol of Toronto and a valued part of our community’s history and environmental culture”, says Mr. Scott.
At the demand of the oil and gas industry, the Conservatives’ budget last fall (C-45) removed protection for thousands of rivers and lakes, including the Don River, so that proposed development projects – such as pipelines – on and near most bodies of water no longer need thorough environmental assessments or public consultation before proceeding. Since 1882, the Navigable Waters Protection Act had been a central pillar of environmental protection of all of Canada’s hundreds of thousands of lakes and rivers.
"The removal of the Don from protection under the Navigable Waters Act was an enormous setback to the goal of an ecologically diverse and healthy Toronto. This Private Members Bill is tabled in support of and with respect for the community organizations and hundreds of volunteers who have worked so hard for, and continue to dream of, a healthy Don River and a healthy city," says Mr. Kellway.