moved for leave to introduce Bill C-667, an act to amend the Navigation Protection Act (Sooke River).
Mr. Speaker, I am introducing this private member's bill today to restore federal environmental protection for the Sooke River by adding it to part 2 of the schedule of the Navigable Waters Protection Act. This is protection that was removed by the Conservative government, in 2012, in Bill C-45, the first of the omnibus budget bills.
The Sooke River system drains a watershed of some 403 square kilometres near the southern tip of Vancouver Island, in my riding. The rock falls at the Sooke River Potholes divide it into the Upper Sooke River and the Lower Sooke River systems.
Protection of the Sooke River watershed is particularly important for two quite separate reasons. The Upper Sooke watershed is the source of drinking water for the Greater Victoria area. The Lower Sooke River is becoming crucial for the restoration of local salmon runs, including chinook, which are critical to the survival of the southern resident killer whales.
Two volunteer-driven organizations, the Sooke Salmon Enhancement Society with its Jack Brooks hatchery on Rocky Creek and the Juan de Fuca Salmon Restoration Society with its Charters River Salmon Interpretive Centre and demonstration hatchery, are doing key work in salmon habitat restoration and enhancement of wild stocks. Restoring federal environmental protection will play an important role in ensuring the long-term health of the watershed so important to Greater Victoria's drinking water supply and to the continued success of salmon enhancement and habitat restoration work.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)