moved for leave to introduce Bill C-244, An Act to amend the Canadian Navigable Waters Act (North Thames River, Middle Thames River and Thames River).
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to reintroduce this bill to amend the Navigable Waters Act in order to ensure the integrity of the Thames River. The Thames River stretches 273 kilometres, extending from southwestern Ontario to Lake St. Clair. It flows past many communities, including, of course, the city of London.
The Thames is the only major river in Canada with the majority of its watershed within the Carolinian life zone. This region is recognized as one of the most biologically significant and diverse regions in Canada, with more 2,200 species of vascular plants identified, including the only two locations of the wood poppy in Canada. The Thames also contains the largest diversity of clams, the threatened eastern spiny softshell turtle and one of the most diverse fish communities in Canada.
In 2000, the Canadian heritage rivers system named the Thames River a designated heritage river. Its existence is a crucial part of our heritage and it must be protected.
The bill, which would amend the Navigable Waters Act, was first introduced in 2013 by my predecessor, but was ignored by the government of the day. During the 2015 election, the Liberals promised the Canadian people that they would prioritize the amendment to the Navigable Waters Act. Today, I am calling upon the government once again to keep its word, protect the Thames River and support my bill.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)