Thursday, February 16, 2017

Liberals Give Canada's Oceans More Protections

On February 15, 2017, the Government of Canada announced a partnership with the Province of B.C. and coastal First Nations to protect coastal ecosystems and the communities that depend upon them. This follows a November 7, 2016, announcement in which Justin Trudeau pledged $1.5 billion national Oceans Protection Plan. The plan creates a marine safety system, it restores and protects marine ecosystems and it strengthens the partnerships with Indigenous communities. The government also pledged to invest in evidence-based oil spill response methods.

After a decade of neglect from federal Conservatives, the ruling Liberal Government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has embarked on an ambitious plan to support Canada's vast ocean coastlines.

The Liberal government has repeatedly stated that it intends to take a science-based approach to protecting our environment, fighting against climate change, and growing the economy. The Liberal website adds, "We will protect our freshwater and oceans." The government will safeguard Canada's $40 billion ocean-based industries with what it calls, "robust and credible environmental assessments".

The Liberal plan includes a pledge to protect 10 percent of Canada’s marine and coastal areas by 2020. They will also invest $8 million per year in community consultation and science. The Liberal have also reinstated 40 million worth of funding for ocean science programs that were cut by the Conservatives. This money will be used to monitor fish, contaminants, and pollution. It will also support responsible and sustainable aquaculture industries.

The Liberal government has been criticized for trying to have it both ways. They want to be champions of the environment and climate action while at the same time ramping up fossil fuel production and building pipelines. They appear to present two diametrically opposed visions for the country. The schism is so pronounced that some of their big green announcements could be characterized as pyrrhic victories.

However, Canadian climate and energy policy is vastly more responsible than their Conservative predecessors. Investments in renewable energy have benefited from the change of government. Under the Liberals Canada played a leadership role at COP21 and they also secured a historic pan-Canadian climate deal.

Related
Assessing the Value of Our Oceans
The Cost of Ocean Acidification
The Mass Extinction of Our Oceans May have Already Begun
The State of Our Oceans: We are Headed Towards a Marine Mass Extinction
Seven Ways to Save the Seas
Report on the UN's World Water Day Panel Discussion

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