moved for leave to introduce Bill C-355, An Act to amend the Navigation Protection Act (North Thames River, Middle Thames River and Thames River)
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to reintroduce this bill to amend the Navigation Protection Act in order to ensure the integrity of the Thames River.
In 2000, the Thames River was designated a heritage river. It stretches 273 kilometres, extending from southwestern Ontario to Lake St. Clair. It flows past communities large and small, including the cities of London and Chatham.
The Thames River is lined by rich Carolinian forests, tulip trees, pawpaw trees, Kentucky coffee trees, and sassafras. It is home to many species of wildlife and fish that are rarely found elsewhere in Canada, including the eastern spiny softshell turtle, the queen snake, the black redhorse, and Virginia opossum.
In addition to a diverse species population, the Thames River has a rich cultural history. It has provided a home for people for over 11,000 years, wars have been fought along its shores, and its fertile land helped bring commercial farming to Canada.
For the past 200 years, the Thames River has remained largely unchanged, with many early buildings still standing. This environmental and cultural diversity must be preserved for future generations.
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.
This amendment was first introduced in 2013 but was ignored by the government of the day. During the 2015 election, the Liberals promised the Canadian people that it would prioritize the amendment to the Navigation Protect Act. Today, I am calling upon the Liberals to keep their word and protect the Thames River.
Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)