Bruce Hyer Questions Conservative Government on Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Centre

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Lake Superior
Lake Superior

Lake Superior
Lake Superior is impacted by climate change

THUNDER BAY – OTTAWA – POLITICS – Thunder Bay-Superior North MP and Green Party Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer will speak in the House of Commons twice on Monday, June 15 about the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Centre in Nipigon.

After questioning the government, during Question Period, about their ‘Born To Die’ legislation C-61, Bruce Hyer also delivered a speech on what the Green Party Deputy Leader says is “Prime Minister Harper’s failed promise of funding for the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Centre”.

MP Hyer sought unanimous consent from all parties to pass Bill C-61

Thunder Bay Superior North MP Deputy Leader of the Green Party Bruce Hyer
Thunder Bay Superior North MP Deputy Leader of the Green Party Bruce Hyer

“In 2007 the Prime Minister visited Thunder Bay – Superior North and announced his commitment to help preserve Lake Superior and promised funding for the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area in Nipigon. The conservation area is one of Parks Canada’s national heritage sites.”

“He promised $20-million in funding, including the administrative and interpretative center in Nipigon and said, “There is no goal more worthy than the protection and preservation of Canada’s natural environment.”After the Prime Minister’s press conference, little was done to help fund this project.”

“Two years later in 2009 the Prime Minister again repeated the same promise, which encouraged the town of Nipigon to begin investing heavily in waterfront development.”

“After eight years of waiting, the town of Nipigon has yet to see much of that promised $20-million. Instead the government has cut staff in the country’s national parks.”

Then Hyer delivered a follow-up speech, following votes in the house, questioning the government on funding for the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Centre in Nipigon:

On May 15, I asked… once again… in this House why the Prime Minister has not kept the promises he made in 2007 and 2009 to create the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA), and allocate and spend $20 Million for that purpose, including a Visitor Centre and Administration Building in the town of Nipigon. While the Prime Minister proclaimed in Nipigon: “There is no goal more worthy than the protection and preservation of Canada’s natural environment.” Eight years later little has been done.

Two years later in 2009 the Prime Minister repeated his promise, which encouraged the town of Nipigon to begin investing heavily in waterfront development.

After eight years of waiting, the town of Nipigon has yet to see even a penny of that promised $20-million. Instead the Conservatives have actually CUT staff in Canada’s national parks.

Nipigon is not the only town in Thunder Bay-Superior North that has waited fruitlessly for 8 years. Towns and First Nations along the spectacular North Shore are all still waiting! Including Marathon, Terrace Bay, Schreiber, Pays Plat, Red Rock, Dorion, Shuniah, and Thunder Bay.

I have been waiting a long time too! In 1980, when I was a Board Member for the Wildlands League, we proposed this idea in our publication “Wilderness Now”.

Later, Jake VanderWaal and I helped to co-create the Lake Superior BiNational Program and BiNational Forum, of which I was the first Canadian Co-Chair.

Then I fought, along with Joannie and Gary McGuffin, for the creation of the Great Lakes Heritage Coast (later killed by the Liberal Ontario government). There is lots of blame to go around on why this protection has been delayed for 35 years!

I re-asked that question of our Prime Minister on Friday exactly a month ago. 5 days later, like magic.. or should I say like smoke and mirrors? … Nipigon received a letter reaffirming that commitment. Then on June 2nd The Minister of Environment introduced Bill C- 61 called Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area Act. I ask this question: Was this in response to my once again calling the Prime Minister to task? Or is it part of a cynical plan to introduce a whole BUNCH of bills at the last minute with no real intent to actually pass them? Or Both!?

This government has rammed lots of dubious and contentious legislation through this House in way less than a month. I urge them to pass this important bill.

I doubt anyone on the opposition side will oppose unanimous consent to create this ecologically important and long-awaited Conservation Area, a key part of Parks Canada’s national heritage sites.

While the Conservatives continue to claim that they are somehow contributing to the preservation of “the world’s largest freshwater protected area”, eight years later North Shore towns are still waiting and waiting.

Lake Superior, is facing the effects of a warming climate. Superior has reached its record low level, 10 centimeters below the previous low point, which was recorded in 1926. The lake is five degrees warmer than it was 30 years ago, which results in the amount of surface ice down a whopping 80 percent. This is one of the world’s most important bodies of water. It holds about 10 percent of the planet’s fresh water. And biological diversity is decreasing.

Mr. Speaker, eight long years ago the people of Nipigon were told they were going to receive federal funding for NMCA, so where is it? Will the Prime Minister finally keep his promise?

Rebuttal:

Mr. Speaker,

I ask the question again here today: Will our Prime Minister keep his word?

Will he seek unanimous consent for the legal creation of the Lake Superior NMCA before this House rises?

Did the Prime Minister really mean what he said in Nipigon Eight years ago, “There is no goal more worthy than the protection and preservation of Canada’s natural environment”? Where is the promised money and legislation for the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area?