Last month, Canadians went to the polls and cast their votes for the future of the country. We’ve been busy thinking about what the newly formed Liberal minority government might mean for our oceans.
In a minority government, the Liberal Party of Canada will need support from other parties to get legislation passed. Based on Oceana Canada’s campaigns, here are some of the ways Canada’s government could proceed in making ocean protection a priority.
Just four years ago, less than one per cent of Canada’s oceans were protected. Now over 14 per cent of our marine area has been protected, and we expect marine conservation will continue to be a priority. The Liberal Party election platform included a commitment to protecting 25 per cent of Canada’s oceans by 2025.
The Conservatives, Liberals and NDP committed to addressing seafood fraud in their election platforms. This means seafood traceability should be a priority during this mandate. With so many Canadians concerned about this issue, there is potential for real change to be implemented to better protect the health of consumers, the oceans and Canada’s seafood industry.
The Liberals have made commitments to phasing-out some single-use plastics, and the NDP included phasing out single-use plastics by 2022 in its platform. There is a real opportunity for Parliament to come together on this issue to pass a law that will reduce single-use plastics.
In June 2019, Canada’s Fisheries Act was updated to require rebuilding plans for depleted fish populations. However, immediately after the law was passed, the government allowed for the critically depleted northern cod stock – which still lacks a rebuilding plan – to continue to be overfished for another season. Last year, 26 stocks were in the “critical” zone, yet there are only six rebuilding plans in place, none of which meet international best practices. The government must quickly develop strong regulations to put the Fisheries Act’s rebuilding provisions into force, and make fisheries rebuilding a priority. Abundant fisheries benefit the oceans and the economies of coastal communities. We expect all parties to work together on this issue.
No matter who you voted for, we hope you’ll agree that oceans are important and that protecting them is essential. In the year ahead, Oceana Canada will continue to champion policies to protect all three of Canada’s oceans. Join us in calling on the government to make ocean protection a priority – become a Wavemaker and get the latest ocean news and ways you can take action. To learn more about the work we’re focusing on to protect Canada’s oceans, visit Oceana.ca/campaigns.