OTTAWA – NDP Critic for Fisheries and Oceans, Fin Donnelly (Port-Moody, Coquitlam) has given notice of a motion to the Fisheries and Oceans Committee, calling on the government to restore lost protections to the Fisheries Act immediately. The protections were removed through omnibus bills by the previous Conservative government. 

“These changes were implemented in 2012 despite significant opposition from First Nations and the general public.  Scientists have noted that habitat destruction is the most common cause of species decline.  This needs to be remedied immediately.  Once these habitat protections are restored, the NDP fully supports a thorough review and consultations to further improve the Fisheries Act”, said Fin Donnelly.

Others have added their voice in calling for the immediate restoration of habitat protection. “This policy was made by the previous government with no respect for First Nations rights and title, no scientific evidence and no public participation, reinstating habitat immediately back in the Fisheries Act will go a long way to restoring lost protections and restoring trust that real change is coming. There’s broad support across the country to fix this policy and then move forward with engagement on other changes needed to enhance stewardship and the long-term sustainability of our aquatic ecosystems. We hope that the Fisheries and Oceans Committee will take swift action on habitat,” said Nikki Skuce, Director of Northern Confluence.

Bob Chamberlin, Elected Chief Councillor of the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa'mis First Nation said: "As a First Nation leader, I continually monitor the new Liberal Government’s action taken on pre/post-election commitments.  Amending section 35 of the Fisheries Act by returning the HADD provision would be a very positive step forward.  Developing meaningful engagement with First Nations concerning implementing the "Principles" of the Cohen Commission would also be very welcome."

The motion will be considered at a meeting of the Committee today. “The Liberals promised Canadians that they would restore lost protections to the Fisheries Act,” added Mr. Donnelly. “I expect them to live up to that promise.”

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