The Thames River. (Photo by M. Parrott courtesy Traverse The Thames)

London Fanshawe MP Pushing For Thames River Protection

A local MP is hoping to restore protections to the Thames River waterway, which were stripped away by the former Conservative government in 2013.

London Fanshawe MP Irene Mathyssen brought a Private Member’s Bill C-355, to the House of Commons on Thursday. The purpose of the bill is to amend the Navigation Protection Act to beef up environmental regulations to include the Thames River.

The Navigation Protection Act, which replaced the Navigable Waters Protection Act that had been in place since the 1880s, applies to 62 rivers, 97 lakes, and the three oceans, protecting them from development deemed to impede navigability. The Conservatives passed legislation changing it through a government omnibus budget bill four years ago.

Mathyssen says, when those changes were made, the Thames River and hundreds of other waterways lost federal protections ensuring their longevity.

“The environmental diversity and rich cultural history must be preserved for future generations. Its existence is a crucial part of our heritage and deserves to be protected,” said Mathyssen.

The Canadian Heritage Rivers System designated the Thames as a heritage river in 2000 due to its diverse ecological system and iconic cultural history.

Despite promises from the Liberal government to protect navigable rivers, the Liberals have yet to take action, according to Matthyssen.

“During the 2015 election, the Liberal Party promised the Canadian people that it would prioritize the amendment to the Navigational Protection Act. Today, I am calling on the Liberals to keep their word and protect the Thames River,” said Mathyssen.