News Release: Conservative MPs Demand Immediate Action to Protect Freshwaters from Aquatic Invasive Species
For Immediate Release
November 8, 2023
Kelowna, British Columbia- Five British Columbia Interior Conservative Members of Parliament (MPs) have called upon the Trudeau Government to take action and address the inconsistent and inequitable funding and lack of border inspections that leaves freshwaters across BC like lakes in the Okanagan, Kootenay and Thompson regions vulnerable to the scourge of aquatic invasive species (AIS). These invasive species have devastated water bodies on both sides of the border, posing a significant threat to ecosystems, water infrastructure, and the tourism industry.
MP Tracy Gray, a former Chair of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, emphasized the need for proactive measures to protect Okanagan Lake and all that depends on it. MP Gray stated, “We must be proactive, not reactive if we want to protect our Okanagan Lake, our water infrastructure, and tourism industry. One infection puts them all at risk.”
MP Mel Arnold, a former BC Wildlife Federation President and Associate Shadow Minister for Fisheries and Oceans, expressed concerns regarding the inadequate funding for AIS prevention. MP Arnold pointed to the potential consequences in BC watersheds where pacific salmon spawn and rear and stated, “with no known method of eradication, the impact on salmon and other species could be devastating and not worth the risk of the current inequitable distribution of resources by the Trudeau government.”
MP Dan Albas raised the lack of AIS inspections for recreational boaters crossing the Canada-US border. MP Albas shared a firsthand report of a local recreational boater who crossed the border six times without being inspected for AIS. MP Albas stated, “this situation is unacceptable, and we are demanding the Federal Government inspect every recreational boater crossing the Canada-US border for AIS across Western Canada.”
MP Frank Caputo stated, “many municipalities and Indigenous communities in my riding know how important and fundamental it is to protect their water and traditional way of life. Unfortunately, the Trudeau Liberals always seem to have resources for everything but what’s important.”
MP Rob Morrison emphasized it is solely the Federal Government’s responsibility in enforcing laws at the border and stated, “British Columbians deserve better treatment when it comes to protecting the environment.”
In their joint letter, the five Conservative MPs urged the Trudeau Government to act now to address the funding inconsistencies and take immediate action to protect BC’s freshwaters from the threat of aquatic invasive species.