OTTAWA – In a move designed to reverse the Conservatives’ reckless changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, New Democrat MP Niki Ashton (Churchill) introduced a bill in the House of Commons to restore protection to over a dozen of Saskatchewan’s lakes.

 “The Conservatives have no vision for sustainable development in this country,” said Ashton. “Buffalo Pound Lake provides drinking water to 25% of Saskatchewan’s population, and lakes like Reindeer Lake host important commercial and recreational fishing industries. The Conservatives are potentially risking the health of the people in this province and the economy.”

 Since the 1880s, the Navigable Waters Protection Act required many projects that could affect the navigation of Canada’s lakes and rivers to undergo an environmental assessment. However, changes made to the Act by the Conservatives last year resulted in less than one percent of Canada’s waterways remaining under the Act’s protection. These changes affect all people who make their living from or enjoy Canada’s lakes and rivers, including fishers, fishing lodges, eco-tourists, tour operators and cottagers.

 “Canada’s lakes and rivers are a public resource that must be protected for future generations,” said NDP Environment critic Megan Leslie (Halifax).

 Ashton’s bill is part of a broader NDP strategy to restore protection to Canada’s waterways. In April, a series of bills were tabled by NDP MPs to reintroduce Canada’s Heritage Rivers back into the Act, including the Clearwater River that runs from Saskatchewan into Alberta.

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