moved for leave to introduce Bill C-498, An Act to amend the Navigable Waters Protection Act (North Thames River, Middle Thames River and Thames River).
Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to join my colleagues and present this bill to protect the Thames River, which was designated a heritage river in 2000.
The Thames flows 273 kilometres through southern Ontario to Lake Saint Clair, meandering through communities large and small, the cities of London and Chatham included.
Along much of its length, it is flanked by rich Carolinian forest, tulip trees, pawpaw, Kentucky coffee trees and sassafras. Wildlife and fish species include many that are rarely found elsewhere in Canada, such as the eastern spiny softshell turtle, the queen snake, the southern flying squirrel and the Virginia opossum.
There is also a rich cultural heritage around the Thames. Its fertile valley has been home to people for over 11,000 years. The Battle of Longwoods, led by Chief Tecumseh, was fought near the Thames. Also, commercial farming in Canada has its roots right here in the Thames River valley, much of it still the same as it was 200 years ago.
From a recreational viewpoint, the Thames is a most diverse watershed. In 1877, renowned artist Paul Peel explored the river by canoe and produced exquisite works of art depicting the local people, scenery and flora and fauna of the Thames.
It is truly a remarkable river, one that must be protected.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)