Mathyssen Calls for Protection of the Thames River System

OTTAWA – NDP MP Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe) has introduced Bill C-355, an Act to amend the Navigational Protection Act.

The Navigational Protection Act protected waterways from the 1880s until 2013, when the Conservative Party amended the law. The changes stripped environmental regulations protecting hundreds of rivers, leaving fewer than 2 percent of all Canadian rivers protected.

The Thames River is just one of the waterways affected by the act. Due to its diverse ecological system and iconic cultural history, the Canadian Heritage Rivers System designated the river as a heritage river in 2000.

Under the Conservative amendments to the act, the federal protections ensuring the longevity of the Thames were removed. “The environmental diversity and rich cultural history must be preserved for future generations. Its existence is a crucial part of our heritage and deserves to be protected,” stated Mathyssen.

Despite promises from the Liberal Party to protect navigable rivers, it has remained silent on the issue. “During the 2015 election, the Liberal Party promised the Canadian people that it would prioritize the amendment to the Navigational Protection Act. Today, I am calling on the Liberals to keep their word and protect the Thames River,” said Mathyssen.