October 9, 2019
Cast your vote for the oceans on October 21
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BY: Sarah Cameron
It seems like the number of threats facing our oceans is growing every day. Last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report on the impact climate change is having on our oceans. The list was long: rising sea levels, warmer ocean temperatures, more acidic waters, less oxygen and the loss of marine life and sea ice. That same week, the world saw the largest climate protest in world history, with millions of people taking to the streets to demand climate action.
In Canada, this wave of action comes just before an important moment for our nation: a federal election. With less than two weeks left until voters go to the polls, we have put together a summary of excerpts of the platform commitments from each party that will impact our campaigns.
Note: The Parti Québécois and the People’s Party of Canada do not have federal commitments on oceans in their platforms.
Protecting marine habitat
Why it matters: Conserving ocean ecosystems, and all the life that calls these places home, is vital for the health of the planet.
• “Protect 25 per cent of Canada’s land and 25 per cent of Canada’s oceans by 2025, working toward 30 per cent in each by 2030. Ground these efforts in science, Indigenous knowledge and local perspectives, and advocate for countries around the world to set a 30 per cent conservation goal as well.”
• “Repeal measures that bypass community consultations for Marine Protected Areas. Ensure the process for creating Marine Protected Areas is robust and timely but does not ignore the voices of coastal communities.”
New Democratic Party
• “Protect 30 per cent of our land, freshwater and oceans by 2030 and back those protections with funding and enforcement. Work with other levels of government to develop a system of urban national parks – and a national approach to tree-planting, using responsible reforestation to help lower our carbon footprint.”
• “Protect a minimum of 30 per cent of freshwaters, oceans and land by 2030.”
• “Commit $100 million annually over the next four years to create Indigenous-led protected and conserved areas and fund stewardship of these lands and waters by Indigenous guardians.”
Stopping seafood fraud
Why it matters: The oceans, and our health, are better protected if we know with certainty the type of seafood on our plate as well as where and how it was harvested.
• “Help boost confidence in Canadian fish and seafood products, with new rules for tracing and labelling. Move forward with a “boat-to-plate” traceability program, developed in partnership with industry and environmental leaders.”
• “Work with industry to develop a strategy for preventing seafood fraud. Make sure that honest Canadian fish harvesters and vendors are not cheated by seafood fraud and mislabelling, which also creates food safety and health risks.”
New Democratic Party
• “To help consumers make healthy choices and to combat seafood fraud, put in place stronger labelling rules and a boat-to-plate traceability standard for Canadian seafood products – and support the marketing of quality Canadian seafood at home and around the world.”
Rebuilding depleted fish populations
Why it matters: Rebuilding thriving abundant oceans full of life is important for the health of the oceans, to feed communities and support economies.
• “To keep Canada’s oceans healthy, move forward with more investments in marine science and fighting invasive species, and will work with coastal communities, Indigenous communities, and others to better protect fish stocks and marine habitats from changes resulting from climate change.”
• “To rebuild critical stocks and ensure that everyone is working together, create advisory panels with fish harvesters and anglers, Indigenous groups and other experts as appropriate.”
• “Complete new recovery plans for all of Canada’s critical fisheries to ensure that we can rebuild and maintain important fish stocks and develop strategies for managing predators and invasive species where necessary.”
New Democratic Party
• “Invest in habitat restoration and rebuilding fish stocks, as well as in strengthening our response to oil spills and derelict vessels to better protect our coasts.”
• “Canadians should have access to seafood from sustainably managed fisheries, caught, landed and processed in Canada. Increase funding for research on fish stocks to improve management and protect endangered species in the face of rapidly changing ecosystems.”
Stop plastic pollution
Why it matters: The oceans are drowning in single-use plastic pollution.
• “To reduce plastic pollution, take steps to ban harmful single-use plastics. This builds on an existing ban on products with plastic microbeads, which threaten the health of our lakes, oceans and wildlife. Move forward with new standards and targets for businesses that manufacture plastic products or sell items with plastic packaging to make sure they take full responsibility for collecting and recycling their plastic waste.”
• “As part of efforts to combat oceans plastic, work with international partners to reduce the prevalence of “ghost gear.” Protect our oceans against one of the deadliest forms of marine litter.”
New Democratic Party
• “To reduce waste in our landfills and communities, ban single-use plastics across Canada and hold companies responsible for the entire lifecycle of their plastics products and packaging. Help municipalities improve their waste management and recycling programs and work towards a zero-waste future.”
• “Work with provinces, territories and Indigenous governments to develop and legislate a comprehensive national strategy on plastic pollution to be implemented over 10 years.”
To learn about how Oceana Canada is campaigning for change on these important ocean issues, visit Oceana.ca/Campaigns. Do your research on candidates and make an informed decision, then exercise your right, and responsibility, to vote. See you at the polls!