Justin Trudeau says Liberals will move forward to protect Canada’s freshwater

A re-elected Liberal government will move forward to protect Canada’s invaluable freshwater, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau announced on Monday in Granby, Quebec.

Trudeau said that Canadians know the importance of clean freshwater. It is essential to Canadians’ health, well-being, and livelihoods, but as our lakes and rivers face increasing threats from climate change, toxic chemicals, invasive species, and new pollutants like plastics, we have to tackle the health of our water so we can build a cleaner Canada for everyone.

“Canada is fortunate to have one fifth of the world’s freshwater and to be the steward of some of the most important bodies of freshwater on the planet, such as the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River,” said Trudeau. “In order to protect these invaluable natural assets, create good jobs, and fight the effects of climate change and habitat loss, we need a real plan to protect our vital freshwater resources. The Liberals are the only ones who can deliver on this.”

To protect Canada’s fresh water, a re-elected Liberal government will:

  • Implement a strengthened Freshwater Action Plan, including a historic investment of $1 billion over ten years, to restore and protect large lakes and river systems and enable us to fully meet Canada’s international obligations under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement;
  • Modernize the 50-year-old Canada Water Act to better address climate change and Indigenous water rights and other emerging issues;
  • Establish and fully fund a Canada Water Agency in 2022 to consolidate and coordinate federal freshwater efforts while collaborating with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous partners to better protect and manage Canada’s freshwater; and
  • Invest in freshwater research through the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s Experimental Lakes Area (ELA).
This plan will build on the Liberals’ environmental leadership since 2015, including:
  • Working with provinces and territories, Indigenous partners and other stakeholders to protect and restore the Great Lakes, which provides one in four Canadians with clean drinking water, as well as other major bodies of freshwater throughout Canada like the St. Lawrence River, Mackenzie and Fraser Rivers;
  • Banning harmful single-used plastics and creating a plan to end plastic waste by 2030;
  • Making historic investments in nature to support provinces, territories, Indigenous partners, and other partners’ to protect and conserve species, lands, and freshwater including the Freshwater Action Plan and the Oceans Protections Plan, the largest single investment in Canada’s history to protect Canada’s oceans and waterways; and
  • Surpassing the previous marine conservation target by setting a new goal to conserve 25 percent of marine and coastal areas by 2025, and working to 30% by 2030.
“Protecting Canada’s freshwater isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also critical for the health of our people and our economy,” said Trudeau. “Only we will protect this vital resource while creating good jobs from coast to coast to coast. Erin O’Toole has no plan to protect our environment or build a cleaner economy. While we know what it takes to move forward, the Conservatives will only move us backward.”

Backgrounder: Protecting Canada’s freshwater and securing our place as a global leader in freshwater research