How The New Federal Government Can Create Change On Your River

Justin Trudeau, our new Prime Minister, loves to swim and paddle. While this is seen as trivia to many people we think it could inform his policy because people protect what they love.

We have a great great deal of optimism when it comes to freshwater protection and strengthening our communities. This change in government has potential to be good for our watershed, if promises are kept and priorities align with those who love to swim, drink and fish.

Seven concrete things the federal government can do for your river:

  1. Support science based policy and decision making by appointing a Parliamentary Science Officer.
  2. Supply safe drinking water to First Nations communities such as Kitigan Zibi who have been under a 16 year boil water advisory.
  3. Prevent cities, such as Gatineau and Montreal, from dumping untreated sewage into their rivers by investing in sewage infrastructure.
  4. Protect our fisheries by strengthening the Fisheries Act.
  5. Follow the lead of Quebec and Ontario environment ministers on climate change policy.
  6. Ban the sale and manufacturing of all products that contain microbeads and triclosan. These two toxic substances are needlessly harming our aquatic ecosystems.
  7. Acknowledge the cultural and historical importance of the Ottawa River by granting it Heritage River Status.

Take a look at our watershed map and see who represents you in the House of Commons. Consider sending your newly elected (or re-elected) MP a short welcome note and tell them how important the Ottawa River (or your favourite tributary or lake) is to you, your family, and your community. Ask them to work collaboratively with Ottawa Riverkeeper and others to ensure swimmable, drinkable, and fishable water.

2015 Election Results Ottawa Watershed

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Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward.