Navigable waters and the environment

Of the changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act that are included in the latest budget implementation act, the Conservatives have argued that the act is “not an environmental law” and insisted that the NWPA is about “navigation and navigation only.” On that note, Megan Leslie deferred yesterday to Transport Canada’s FAQ on the act.

Megan Leslie: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities’s own web page contradicts his talking points. The Navigable Waters Protection Act FAQ alone mentions the environment 23 times, and the website says of the act: “These stiff new penalties reflect the government’s ongoing concern toward maintaining the safety of public navigation and the environment.” That is right, according to the department, the Navigable Waters Protection Act is about protecting the environment. Why is the minister so confused about his portfolio?

Denis Lebel: Mr. Speaker, changing the words “navigable waters” to “navigation” does not change the essence of this act. That is about navigation, and that is what we will continue to do. The member asks frequent questions about the environment, and the Minister of the Environment will continue to answer her. We will continue to answer her about navigation.

The FAQ in question is here.

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