EDITORIAL – Protecting the North Shore for Generations to come

Minister Patty Hajdu making the announcement in Thunder Bay
Minister Patty Hajdu

THUNDER BAY – Leader’s Ledger – People, governments, organizations and corporations must work together to ensure we leave a sustainable planet for our children and grandchildren. And every bit can make a difference, from picking up a piece of litter to the recent announcement from Safeway that they will eliminate plastic bags from their stores nationwide by the end of next year. That means in 2020, our environment will see 225 million less plastic bags including those that sometimes end up in the great lake we all love.

Safeway says removing plastic bags is the first step to eliminating as much plastic as possible from their stores, demonstrating their commitment to leadership on reducing single-use plastics from our landfills and lakes.

The Safeway announcement builds on our announcement to ban single-use plastics by as early as 2021. The science behind banning harmful plastics is clear. But all the evidence you need is right there on our streets, in our parks, on our beaches and our shorelines, and in our lakes and forests.

Reducing plastics from your routine can be challenging but every day more companies are stepping up to help consumers find products that use less or no plastic.

Northern Ontario is a beautiful place known for its magnificent forest and amazing Lake Superior. We have work to do to protect and restore the health of our forests and lakes. I have been honoured as Member of Parliament to advocate for actions like improvements to Pukaskwa National Park and the creation of Black Bay conservation area that will protect 8000 acres of sensitive land along the north shore of Lake Superior. Some environmental issues will need more time and planning to get right, like the cleanup of the north harbour site in Lake Superior. 400,000 cubic metres of mercury-contaminated pulp fibre is a major concern for all of us and I look forward to hearing about the new options to clean it up.  Transport Canada and Environment Canada have been working with the province, Thunder Bay Port Authority and the rest of the steering committee to make sure we get it right.

I often hear how connected people of the North feel to our natural environment. I will continue to fight for the resources and actions we need to protect our beautiful part of the world for the next generation.

Patty Hajdu
Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Superior North