Ramsey calls for national freshwater strategy

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey speaks to seniors at a town hall meeting in Essex, April 27, 2018. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

The member of Parliament from Essex has introduced a bill asking the majority Liberals to consider a plan for cleaner freshwater.

The NDP’s Tracey Ramsey rose in the House of Commons as the bill, C-439, was given first reading. She said it was time for Canada to change its standards in regards to clean water and to increase its capacity for renewal.

“Canada needs a modernized national freshwater strategy,” said Ramsey. “It’s been over 20 years since the government established a policy on freshwater and environmental conditions have changed dramatically since 1987.”

The 1987 Federal Water Policy, enacted under then-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, was designed to protect the freshwater supply as well as promote its proper management. Ramsey said the country’s needs have changed since then and the need for freshwater spans numerous industries.

“Freshwater is vital, whether for tourism, agriculture, recreational use, health or household needs,” said Ramsey. “It plays an important role in all of our communities. Essex is surrounded by the majesty of Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair, along with our many rivers, wetlands and tributaries.”

Bill C-439 would allow a review for new national water policy. It would establish national drinking water standards, protect groundwater, evaluate the readiness of water and wastewater infrastructure and handle changes in regards to climate change, reduce eutrophication in Canadian freshwater lakes and ensure the protection of water in international agreements.