One can hope that the directives send by Prime Minister Trudeau to all Ministers represent a positive step and a return to the vision of a proud Canada. Key directions include:
As Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, your overarching goal will be to protect our three oceans, coasts, waterways and fisheries and ensure that they remain healthy for future generations. Canada is uniquely blessed with an abundance of freshwater and marine and coastal areas that are ecologically diverse and economically significant. Canada has a responsibility to the world to steward our resources with care.
In particular, I will expect you to work with your colleagues and through established legislative, regulatory, and Cabinet processes to deliver on your top priorities:
- Work with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to increase the proportion of Canada’s marine and coastal areas that are protected – to five percent by 2017, and ten percent by 2020 – supported by new investments in community consultation and science.
- Restore annual federal funding for freshwater research, and make new investments in Canada’s Experimental Lakes Area.
- Restore funding to support federal ocean science and monitoring programs, to protect the health of fish stocks, to monitor contaminants and pollution in the oceans, and to support responsible and sustainable aquaculture industries on Canada’s coasts.
- Use scientific evidence and the precautionary principle, and take into account climate change, when making decisions affecting fish stocks and ecosystem management.
- Work with the provinces, territories, Indigenous Peoples, and other stakeholders to better co-manage our three oceans.
- Support the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to renew our commitment to protect the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River Basin, and the Lake Winnipeg Basin.
- Act on recommendations of the Cohen Commission on restoring sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser River.
- Work with the Minister of Transport to review the previous government’s changes to the Fisheries and Navigable Waters Protection Acts, restore lost protections, and incorporate modern safeguards.
- Work with the Ministers of Transport, Natural Resources and Environment and Climate Change to formalize the moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic on British Columbia’s North Coast, including the Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait, and Queen Charlotte Sound.
- Work with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Minister of Natural Resources, to immediately review Canada’s environmental assessment processes and introduce new, fair processes that will:
- restore robust oversight and thorough environmental assessments of areas under federal jurisdiction, while also working with provinces and territories to avoid duplication;
- ensure that decisions are based on science, facts, and evidence, and serve the public interest;
- provide ways for Canadians to express their views and opportunities for experts to meaningfully participate; and
- require project advocates to choose the best technologies available to reduce environmental impacts.
- Re-open the Maritime Rescue Sub-centre in St. John’s, Newfoundland and the Kitsilano Coast Guard Base in Vancouver.
- Work with the Minister of Public Services and Procurement to meet the commitments that were made for new Coast Guard vessels as part of the National Shipbuilding and Procurement Strategy.
- Work with the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to improve marine safety.
- Work with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Minister of Science to examine the implications of climate change on Arctic marine ecosystems.