moved for leave to introduce Bill C-502, An Act to amend the Navigable Waters Protection Act (Humber River).
Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Parkdale—High Park, to request leave to introduce a bill to amend the Navigable Waters Protection Act with respect to the Humber River.
Last year, the Conservative government removed most of Canada's rivers and lakes from the Navigable Waters Protection Act through its omnibus budget implementation bill. Out of Canada's hundreds of thousands of rivers and lakes, only 62 rivers and 97 lakes remain protected. That is simply not enough.
Today, I am seeking to restore the Humber River to protection under the Navigable Waters Protection Act. The river is a Canada heritage designated river, part of the historic Toronto Carrying Place trail and has over 800,000 people living within its watershed.
The Humber River has its headwaters in the ancient rock of the Niagara Escarpment and the glacial hills of the Oak Ridges Moraine. It flows through a rich mosaic of Carolinian forests and meadows, past farms and abandoned mills, before meandering through the largest urban area in Canada, Metropolitan Toronto, passing by my community of York South—Weston.
The Humber is the backyard of not only Toronto but Mississauga, Peel, York, Brampton, Caledon, King, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Aurora, et cetera. It is a unique river that flows through the most densely populated area of Canada, but still retains many of its natural and cultural values.
By placing the full length of the river, all 126 kilometres of it, back into the Navigable Waters Protection Act, the Humber would be once more protected from unbridled development, requiring full environment assessments with public consultations for any project, be it transportation, pipeline or other development to be conducted to ensure the health of the river before going ahead.
This is a river worth protecting and I look forward to support for my bill by all members of the House.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)