Mr. Speaker, just off the coast of my riding is a cluster of islands in the Salish Sea that encompasses the best marine and coastal environment in urban Canada. Home to migratory birds, rare plants, orca whales and sacred sites for the Songhees First Nation, today these are under-protected and under threat. Lack of coordination and enforcement have left them vulnerable, and we must act now to prevent further damage.
The University of Victoria' s Environmental Law Centre has studied the legal designations available to protect this area and preserve the uses, rights and title of the Songhees First Nation. Many of these designations require the direct support of the federal government. Others require Ottawa to work with the Songhees First Nation, the province of British Columbia, and the municipality of Oak Bay.
As our community considers the options in this new report, I hope we will find a true partner in Ottawa. We have a rare moment to save a precious environment, so let us work together.