moved for leave to introduce Bill C-696, Act to amend the Rouge National Urban Park Act (ecological protection).
Mr. Speaker, over the last year, the government has pushed through critically flawed legislation for Rouge National Urban Park, ignoring the advice of several thousand Canadians, 106 members of Parliament, the Ontario government, and several of Canada's top environmental organizations. Even the former chief scientist for Parks Canada, Stephen Woodley, publicly stated that the Rouge National Urban Park Act “falls considerably short” of the accepted environmental standards for protected areas, whether urban or wilderness.
The new park that is being created would be less than two square kilometres and would not include the currently existing Rouge Park. The bill that I have put forward would actually fix many of the serious flaws in the existing Rouge National Urban Park Act by prioritizing and protecting the restoration of ecological integrity and watershed health; by respecting water quality agreement objectives and policies for the provincial Greenbelt, Rouge Park, the Rouge watershed, the Oak Ridges Moraine, and the Great Lakes; by requiring good public consultation and scientifically sound park management; by supporting healthy and sustainable farming in the park; and by respecting the history and heritage of the first peoples of the land.
I hope that we will be able to move forward with the bill and see a Rouge national park that is 100 square kilometres, a people's park and will continue to be the gem in everybody's backyard in the city of Toronto and the greater Toronto area.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)