(Clockwise from top left) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Liberal Party of Canada; Leader of the Official Opposition Andrew Scheer, Conservative Party of Canada; Leader Jagmeet Singh, New Democratic Party of Canada; Leader Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada
Question 6: The sportfishing community is concerned the creation of Marine Protected Areas will result in blanket no-fishing zones, overriding existing regulations already in place to protect fish stocks. Will you and your party pledge to ensure this does not happen?
TRUDEAU: With the longest coastline in the world, Canada is an ocean nation. Canadians rely on healthy and sustainable oceans—marine ecosystems support good jobs, as well as a vast amount of marine biodiversity, including fish, whales and sea birds. Safeguarding the environment is essential to ensuring that future generations can continue to enjoy everything that our rich natural resources have to offer.
That is why our government is taking action to ensure the conservation and long-term protection of our oceans. We have worked with recreational fishers to ensure the continued access of fishing opportunities in marine protected areas, while our new protection standards help restore biodiversity and better protect our waters from potentially harmful effects of industrial activities.
SCHEER: Conservatives are very concerned about the Liberal approach to creating Marine Protected Areas, particularly with Bill C-55. This Bill would allow the government to create Marine Protected Areas up front, and put the onus on communities and stakeholders to convince them to make changes afterward. This is unfair. Upfront consultations are an essential component of the planning process and should not be ignored. We also believe that Marine Protected Areas should not simply be an excuse to impose a blanket no-fishing ban. Instead, we believe that they should have specific management objectives, and that activities should be allowed or disallowed on the basis of those objectives.
SINGH: We will also review Environment Canada’s protected areas system, and develop a clear vision and plan for protecting more nationally significant wildlife habitat, and review and update the National Conservation Plan to articulate a clear path towards achieving our 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
MAY: Sportfishing is permitted in Marine Protected Areas. The Green Party will strengthen the Act to ban oil exploration in Marine Protected Areas. Where species are endangered, we will restrict some of the fishing of their food to ensure their survival. We also recognize that where areas are created for “no take,” the fishing in adjacent areas becomes abundant